The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a renowned organisation dedicated to improving educational outcomes for socio-economically disadvantaged children and young people in England. 

Through their work supporting organisations to develop new programmes, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity, and £25,000 of funding, to develop, deliver and evaluate an innovative initiative that aims to support Key Stage 1 pupils with their maths by introducing them to executive function skills. 

MindSpark Maths is an evidence-informed, classroom-based intervention that embeds executive function literacy and strategies into Key Stage 1 maths lessons through the introduction of executive function skill characters and metacognitive thinking. There are seven executive function characters, each of which embody metacognition or one of the six foundational executive function skills (emotional control, response inhibition, cognitive flexibility, working memory, sustained attention and task initiation). These characters are a classroom resource to support teachers in explicitly teaching the executive function literacy and strategies to young children. 

We are currently in the design and build stages of the funded programme which includes developing our executive function skill characters (VERY excited to share these!), our school training and workshop programme, and a series of maths lesson plans for the first term.

The maths lessons introduce metacognitive strategies and six foundational executive function skills through characters, stories, and game play. The lesson series continues by utilising the gradual release model of responsibility, also known as the I Do, We Do, You Do model, to provide modelling and explicit teaching of using executive function skill strategies and metacognitive thinking during maths problem-solving. The second term builds on this by providing teachers with an easy-to-implement teaching framework that can be integrated into every maths lesson to encourage metacognitive thinking and using executive function skill strategies to support maths learning.  

We are due to start delivery in September/October 2023 so will be sharing our progress on this over the next year. MindSpark Maths is just one of the initiatives that has received early-stage programme development support from the EEF, all of which are aligned in driving educational excellence, promoting equality, and unlocking the potential of children and young people who face multiple disadvantages using an evidence-based approach.