In 2018/19, East Midlands West maths hub ran an innovation work group focussed on transition between Reception and Year 1. Participants recognised that it was crucial to effective transition in maths to have time to work together on maths.  As part of their work, teachers from Reception and year 1 classes in the same school observed mathematics in each other’s classrooms and found that this understanding supported their own practice.  They valued time together to practise modelling using manipulatives to each other in order and time to discuss most effective use of manipulatives such as ten frames.  This helped them to be more joined up approach with progression planned carefully.  All pairs of teachers from each school spent time planning an ideal mathematical learning environment as well as learning about curriculum in each phase and mapping these together.  These shared activities enabled teachers to focus upon building familiarity (with resources and models) and upon children’s prior mathematical learning (how the children have learned maths successfully).

As outcomes from the transition work group, participants established new ways of working together between Reception and Year 1.  Here are a few examples which may also help other schools to develop smooth transitions in maths:

  • Regular visits to each other’s classroom to observe or join in with mathematics teaching
  • Joint planning of a series of maths lessons to span across the end of Reception year and beginning of Year 1 (like a transition unit)
  • Maths resources moving with the children from Reception to year 1
  • Start transition planning earlier
  • Regular meetings between YR and Y1 staff teams focussing on different areas of maths
  • More practical maths in Y1 to mirror practice in YR
  • Devise new shared planning format for both year groups
  • Using learning trajectories to support planning in YR and Y1 to ensure progression is clear and developmentally appropriate in both year groups
  • Increase outdoor maths in Y1 Autumn term (using familiar YR outdoor area when not in use every week)
  • Staff CPD on maths vocabulary to ensure that use and expectations as well as introduction of new vocabulary is planned carefully and progressive across early years and Key Stage 1.
  • Update calculation policy (with Maths Lead) to ensure early years is included and year 1 is develops appropriately from this
  • Governor with responsibility for early years will extend remit to include transition to Y1
  • Create a transition policy together to include maths
  • Run maths workshops for parents on Reception and Year 1 maths
  • Continue with individual maths assessments from Year R into Year 1 using observation and photographs.



As part of this work group, participants engaged with Nuffield’s research on using manipulatives.



Developing transition has been a part of a further work group at the hub in 2019/20 and continues to be an important focus for us.  Click here to view the early years CPD & events for this academic year.