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Mark Cueto launches national “Tackling Numbers” scheme to improve 8/9 year olds’ numeracy 

Hard on the heels of the recent government announcement (9th November) that calculators will be banned in primary school exams and severely restricted in lessons due to young children becoming too dependent on them, Tackling Numbers, an initiative that has already proved highly successful in improving the everyday numeracy skills of thousands of schoolchildren, is today launched for its third successive year. 

The scheme, unveiled at Sale Sharks rugby club in Manchester, uses rugby to bring maths to life in a practical and enjoyable way for Year 4 children (aged 8-9). Classroom sessions lasting five weeks will be supported by fun, number-based rugby games.  

Tackling Numbers has been devised by a rugby-loving maths teacher from Northamptonshire, Sarah Mason. In the three years to the end of this year’s scheme it will have reached 25,200 children across 840 schools throughout England via over 8,000 sessions in the classroom and on the sports field. Almost 1,700 teachers will have been trained in the initiative and every school will also have a legacy of kit, balls and equipment. 

More than three-quarters of Year 4 teachers say the programme improved and strengthened pupils’ attitude to maths and numeracy, while all teachers agreed that the use of sport has helped children become more engaged in maths. The programme has the added benefit of getting children to exercise more frequently. 

Sales Sharks’ Mark Cueto, capped 55 times by England, together with club captain, Dave Seymour, and vice-captain, Sam Tuitupou, will launch the third year of the national scheme with Year 4 classes from two schools in Manchester and the North West. The rugby stars ran through several fun-based rugby games in the classroom and then out on the Sale Sharks' pitch with the children. 

Tackling Numbers is a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby, North West-based credit card lender MBNA and the 12 Premiership rugby clubs, all of whom will be working closely to promote the scheme with schools in their areas. 

280 schools and 8,000 Year 4 pupils in England will participate in the 5-week initiative this season. 

Click here to learn more about the scheme  


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