Reasoning First: mathematical reasoning in Year 2

Many children struggle with numeracy (mathematics), and fall behind their classmates at school. The Reasoning First programme, developed by Professor Terezinha Nunes and the Children Learning Research Group from the Department of Education, has been shown to have a positive impact on pupils’ numeracy ability, equating to three additional months’ progress. The programme is designed to promote children’s quantitative reasoning, understanding the relations between numbers, and being able to use them to solve problems as part of developing their understanding of
the logical principles underlying mathematics.

The programme includes online games, classroom exercises, training materials and guides. Terezinha and her team have trained Year 2 teachers from seven schools in Suffolk, introducing them to the programme, explaining the concepts, and allowing them to explore the learning activities for themselves. The Oxford team also trained a Work Group Lead from the participating Maths Hub, which in turn was supported in the delivery of the programme by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and the Education Endowment Fund (EEF).

School children from these seven schools will use the programme over the next three months. The lessons include electronic resources, such as PowerPoint, which the teacher uses for whole class teaching, and online games that the children can access at school and at home. The Work Group Lead will provide further support to the teachers through a school visit during the period in which they are delivering the programme.

Oxford University Innovation worked with Terezinha to ensure that the programme (including training) was licensed to the schools, and managed subcontracting of the Work Group Lead. It is early days yet but there is certainly excellent potential for rolling-out the education package to other schools, maximising the effect and impact of the original research.


terezinha-nunesI approached Oxford University Innovation to help with the licensing and costing of the Reasoning First Intervention Package. The idea was to provide a platform and infrastructure needed for a sustainable roll-out of the intervention to schools nationally in the long-term. We had teething problems at first, as could be expected, but are now in a good position to disseminate the outputs of the research project more widely.


– Terezinha Nunes, Professor of Educational Studies, Department of Education

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