Responding to the Mathematical Needs of Children in Care

Rose Griffiths, School of Education, University of Leicester
14th March 2013, 4.30 – 6.00 pm, Room B46, Dearing Building, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, NG8 1BB,UK

The educational achievement of looked-after children in the UK continues to be extremely poor on average, even when compared to other vulnerable children. Whilst there has been some attention paid to raising their achievement in literacy, there has been very little exploration of the reasons for looked-after children’s poor performance in mathematics.

This seminar will focus on two linked areas of her research with looked-after children aged 7 to 13. The Letterbox Club was an action research project which began in 2003 with just 20 children, examining the effect of providing mathematics and literacy materials through the post directly to children in foster care, at their home addresses. It is now established as a national programme working with around 5,000 children each year.

Rose will also discuss some of the findings of her doctoral study, using case studies of five looked-after children with difficulties in mathematics. Based on clinical interviews with the children, and interviews with their class teachers, TAs, and their foster carers, she will provide an analysis of some of the places where things have gone badly wrong for these children, and some thoughts on how their situation could be improved.

Rose Griffiths is a senior lecturer in mathematics education at the University of Leicester. She has taught in primary, special and secondary schools, and is a former foster carer and then an adoptive parent.

Please contact if you wish to attend.

The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition 2013

Following on from the 2012 competition, the School of Mathematics atthe University of Manchester will again be running the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition in January 2013.  The competition is aimed at secondary school pupils up to and including Year 11 or equivalent, and pupils should organise themselves into teams of at most 4 people.

The competition starts on Monday January 7th at 4pm.  You can register here:

The story comprises of six chapters, following the exploits of two children, Mike and Ellie, who get involved in a cryptographic adventure involving a mysterious ancient artefact – the Egyptian Enigma!  Every 2 weeks, starting on Mon 7th Jan, a new chapter of the story will be released on the website.  Each of the 6 chapters contains a code to be solved.  Teams have to solve these codes as fast as they can and submit their answers on the competition website.

There are some great prizes, sponsored by Skyscanner, for the three top-placed teams at the end of the competition. There will also be a prize for the first team to solve each chapter and a number of spot prizes awarded throughout the competition.   See the website for

For more information see the website or contact