Fun and sums beside the seaside in coast’s Maths Month

North Yorkshire’s pupils and parents will be learning to love numbers as part of a celebration tackling the myths around maths to help them unlock their options for the future.

Bobby Seagull

Guest speakers Kjartan Poskitt, best-selling author of the Murderous Maths book series, and investment banker turned maths teacher Bobby Seagull will give talks to inspire pupils. There will also be Pi Day celebrations on the beach at Scarborough, competitions and free fun activities with opportunities to learn as part of Maths Month, which will run during March.

The Department for Education’s Opportunity Area has allocated £100,000 over two years to Maths Month North Yorkshire Coast to change perceptions of maths and numeracy and raise aspirations among young people.

Bobby Seagull, star of University Challenge and Monkman and Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain, will deliver talks to pupils and adults on how maths is everywhere around us and how we can all be mathematicians.

He said: “I'm really excited to be talking at one of the Maths Month North Yorkshire Coast events. As a school maths teacher, I know that maths sometimes has an undeserved negative reputation. So it's wonderful to support this annual event, which is trying to present positive images of maths and numeracy. I believe that everyone can do maths, and Maths Month is a shining example of schools, children, parents and communities gathering together to show that maths is for everyone!”  

North Yorkshire County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “In Scarborough, performance in maths is lower than elsewhere in the county. This is partly down to a fear of maths and the perception that maths is complicated, difficult and not relevant to people’s everyday lives. In fact, it is important in so much of what we do every day, particularly when you’re managing your money.

“Many people will say ‘I’m no good at maths’, but we want to challenge that notion. Everyone needs to use maths, everyone can do it and it doesn’t have to be scary.”

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want more young people to feel confident using numbers as it can unlock opportunities for the future such as a good job, an apprenticeship, further study or training as well as boosting the UK economy.

“Maths Month is a great example of how the Opportunity Area is empowering schools, pupils and the local community on the North Yorkshire Coast to raise aspirations and overcome obstacles to social mobility through education.”

Maths Month has four objectives: to raise attainment; develop confidence and fluency in parents, carers, young people and teachers; generate acceptance that maths is essential for every career; and reduce fear to show that maths can be fun.

Maths Month events include:

  • Bobby Seagull will deliver talks to pupils and adults on how maths is everywhere in the world around us and also how all of us can be mathematicians. Bobby will show if you look carefully enough, maths can help you understand our place in the world. Bobby Seagull is a school maths teacher and Cambridge University Doctorate student. He is also a regular contributor to Radio Four’s Puzzle For Today and a columnist for the Financial Times. He is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers (which reached #50 Amazon UK best sellers over Christmas 2018) and co-presenter of the podcast Maths Appeal. With his University Challenge friend, he co-wrote The Monkman & Seagull Quiz and co-presented a BBC TV series Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain.
  • Maths on Toast, to show primary school teachers how to run the Festival of Triangles, a programme of hands-on maths for students culminating in a family evening; 20 February.
  • Murderous Maths Show, Kjartan Poskitt, author of the Murderous Maths book series, will bring his fun-filled shows to Whitby and Scarborough for primary school children in Years 3 to 6; Scarborough, 11 and 12 March; Whitby, 13 and 14 March.
  • Sumdog, pupils are invited to practise maths and compete against other classes to become the North Yorkshire Coast Sumdog Champions, runs from 8 to 14 March.
  • Times Tables Rock Stars, a rocktastic times tables-off for primary school pupils that will run from 15 to 21 March.
  • Bruno Reddy: Times Tables Rock Stars, educationalist Bruno Reddy will offer training for primary and secondary school teachers on teaching times tables; Scarborough, 11March; Whitby, 12 March.
  • Bruno Reddy: Times Tables Rock Stars, parents’ session: Bruno will offer short, informal sessions for parents on how to support children aged five to nine as they learn the times tables; Scarborough, 11 March; Whitby, 12 March.
  • Playing for Real – Games and Money, Rob Eastaway, director of Maths Inspiration, a national programme of interactive maths lecture shows for teenagers, and Jen Rogers, Associate Professor of Statistics at Oxford University,will play a range of games that feature the maths behind games involving money; 13 March and 15 March suitable for Year 9 and 10 students.
  • Zoe Griffiths: Think Maths, Zoe will deliver her Shapes and Smoke Rings show exploring topology, an extension of geometry that allows shapes and surfaces to be stretched and is not limited by three dimensions, Scarborough, 21 March; Whitby, 22 March, for Year 7 and 8 students.

Find more information about these and other activities or look for #MathsMonth on Twitter.

This story was published 19 February 2019