Education Endowment Foundation:Reception Jigsaw

Reception Jigsaw

White Rose Maths
Implementation costThe cost estimates in the Toolkits are based on the average cost of delivering the intervention.
Evidence strengthThis rating provides an overall estimate of the robustness of the evidence, to help support professional decision-making in schools.
Impact (months)The impact measure shows the number of additional months of progress made, on average, by children and young people who received the intervention, compared to similar children and young people who did not.
Project info

Independent Evaluator

NFER logo
A professional development programme for Reception staff aiming to improve children’s early mathematical understanding
Pupils: 4290 Schools: 110 Grant: £429,399
Key Stage: EY Duration: 1 year(s) 9 month(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed July 2021

Reception Jigsaw is a professional development training package that aims to improve mathematics teaching quality and outcomes in reception classes. It is primarily aimed at reception teachers and teaching assistants. It involves five twilight sessions and five coaching visits over an academic year, with gap tasks to be completed between sessions. All ten sessions take place at the practitioners’ school and the coaching in particular is tailored to the school’s needs.

The programme is underpinned by strong principles of early years mathematics teaching, specifically: learning through play; opportunities to explore and investigate through classroom provision; starting from and building on children’s interests; using real objects in meaningful contexts to introduce mathematics learning; and the role of the adult in supporting and enhancing learning through a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. It is designed to improve teaching practice within regular class time.

Research suggests that high-quality early numeracy education in the early years can have long-lasting effects which may help close the gap in achievement throughout life. This project was co-funded by the EEF and the Department for Education as part of our Early Years professional development funding round, in which maths continuing professional development was identified as a priority, as it is an area in which less evidence has been generated to date.

This RCT efficacy trial found that children in Reception Jigsaw schools made, on average, the equivalent of one additional month of progress in maths compared to children in other schools. This result has a high security rating: 4 out of 5 on the EEF padlock scale. Planned longitudinal analysis (completed in summer 2023 and published in spring 2024 as an update to the evaluation report) found that children who had been in Reception Jigsaw schools in their reception year also made an average of one month’s additional progress at the end of Year 1 compared to children in other schools.

Exploratory analysis suggested that a slightly higher proportion of children in Reception Jigsaw schools may have achieved the expected level in the EYFSP Number and Numerical Pattern goals than in other schools.

The main evaluation also found evidence that the programme improved practitioners’ confidence in teaching maths to children. The programme was found to have run as expected and was well received by practitioners. Reception teachers reported positively about the support they received throughout the Reception Jigsaw programme, finding it relevant to their teaching practice and of high quality. Year 1 teachers also reported positively about the support, but less so compared to reception teachers. However, they could see that it would help them with supporting pupils to transition from reception to Year 1, and to build on knowledge pupils had gained in reception.

The EEF is exploring the possibility of testing Reception Jigsaw at a larger scale.

ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
Months' progress
(Effect size 0.08)
Maths (FSM eligible pupils)
Months' progress
(Effect size -0.02)