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5th December 2008

Dear Parents and Carers P5-7 MATHS CHALLENGES Maths Challenges are provided at school on a Tuesday morning for pupils in the P5-7 classes and sometimes earlier than P5, if appropriate. I am writing to give some clarification about the purpose of the challenges and how they work in practice. The challenges were devised for all the Musselburgh primaries some years ago, by Norma McPherson, East Lothian Council’s Maths Adviser and Fiona McLeod, Principal Teacher, Maths, at Musselburgh Grammar School, with the purpose of ensuring that as many pupils as possible entered S1 at Musselburgh Grammar School with quick mental recall of number facts, especially the multiplication tables. Good knowledge of the times tables impacts on a wide range of other aspects of the number elements of the Maths curriculum e.g. division, fractions, decimals, percentages and so it makes sense that pupils develop proficiency in these as soon as possible. For this reason we actively encourage the children to take part in the challenges and to progress through them as far as they are able, although they are not compulsory. There are eight challenges in all, and while it is not expected that all pupils will achieve them all by the time they leave P7, each child should try to go as far as they possibly can – every little helps. It would be most helpful if you would continue to support and encourage your children to persevere with the challenges even when they are indeed a challenge! Many thanks. We are fortunate to have a long-standing group of parent volunteers who help the pupils through the challenges. They work in partnership with class teachers and are skilled in responding appropriately to children, bearing in mind individual needs, whilst keeping broadly within the suggested framework i.e. time allowed etc. Where a child does become a bit stuck within a particular challenge both the parent volunteer and the teacher will support, encourage and reward any small steps forward from week to week to keep the child motivated and keen to keep on trying. This usually works well. In addition, to keep the profile of the challenges high, certificates are awarded publicly at school assemblies. I hope the information is helpful to you. If you have any concerns or would like to know more please do not hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help. Please also find, listed below, some websites that you may find useful to help your child prepare for the challenges.

Yours sincerely

Mrs C E Clarke Depute Head Teacher

P5-7 Maths Challenge 5Dec08/parents/letters0809/Admin1

P5-7 Maths Challenge