My name is Sharon Day and I am an independent mathematics consultant for the primary sector. I began my company in 2011 and have been successfully trading since that time. I have a passion for learning and, as mathematics creates many negative responses from people, I have a particular leaning towards making maths accessible and fun for children.
My degree is in music (Trinity College of Music, London) and I feel that the two subjects of maths and music are closely aligned. I began my teaching career, after having completed a PGCE at Bretton Hall, with the London Borough of Barnet in 1984, where I was given a forward-thinking and supportive experience. In 1988 I came back to my home town of Bradford to teach. My classroom career, of twenty-one years, gave me experience working with children from the age of 3 to the age of 13, whilst also becoming a subject leader for music as well as mathematics. I also gained experience, for a year, as acting Deputy Head Teacher. In 2006, I became a National Strategies’ Mathematics Consultant for my local authority of Bradford.
I now work with many schools, across the Bradford district and beyond, to keep them up-to-date with new initiatives in teaching mathematics. I have created planning scaffolds and learning activities that I share with teachers during training in schools. One of the key methods of support that I provide, and enjoy, is teaching with and for teachers. There is nothing more satisfying than demonstrating for teachers how to use variation theory and intelligent practice with their own class. It is a powerful model to show them how targeted questioning can move their children’s learning on and also to model how to use investigative approaches, in order to deepen and embed learning. Many teachers are still unsure of how their children can use concrete and pictorial representations to learn concepts, ideas and techniques. However, I have found that once the teachers see their children involved in learning experiences that promote their use, then they are more confident to pursue these methods for themselves. I also have a strong commitment to ‘mastery’. Many of the schools I have worked with over the last few years are no longer putting children into ‘ability groups’ – I am continuing to push this philosophy with other schools.
The first two years of my work as an independent consultant included leading groups of teachers from across seven schools with action research. Examples of the foci for our action research included:
- How can we use resources effectively to develop visualisation of number concepts in children?
- How can we meet the mathematical needs of children in KS2 who achieved 2c at the end of KS1?
- How can we meet all children’s mathematical needs in enhanced provision in FS and year 1?
- How can we ensure that children are able to interpret word problems accurately?
I also supported a teacher with his action research in his own school on:
- How promoting curiosity in children is crucial to good mathematical performance.
One of the roles I have had since 2013/14 is as an associate consultant for Early Excellence Ltd. (Huddersfield) and this work has taken me across the North of England – including Liverpool, York, Hull and Barnsley. I have also delivered training courses at their Huddersfield and London centres. I write and deliver mathematics courses aimed at EYFS and KS1 for them, as well as delivering training on Enquiry Based Learning for KS1. For this role and whilst working for the local authority, as well as working with schools as an independent consultant, my experience has included planning, writing and delivering training sessions. The largest audience I have given training to, so far, is 120 delegates.
Other professionals, that I love to work with, include: