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Struggling with maths in primary school


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Some children struggle with maths - usually because they may have struggled with a basic mathematical idea and then cannot use this to extend their learning.

If they do not have a basic understanding, they will rely on memory to get them by and this could then land them in trouble. Maths has practical applications in everyday life, so we have to try to encourage children to see why it is meaningful and relevant.

Why do some children struggle with maths?

Learning to be good at maths takes time and patience. Maths is nothing more than building from one stage to the next. The foundations must be secure.

Nowadays, children are encouraged to understand the underlying maths, which reduces the chance of them making a mistake and also helps them to understand more complicated maths later on. Children can use calculators, but they do need to know when to multiply and divide - this work helps to develop number sense.

If children are exposed to maths in an enthusiastic, fun way in a relaxed environment, they are more likely to succeed.

Children may well struggle if they are lacking confidence, and so playing games rather than making maths a formal lesson may help them to understand an underlying mathematical idea more easily. When maths starts to make sense and your child becomes more confident, the struggle may disappear.

If your child wants to work at an easier level or a slower pace, go along with this - make 'sums' easy - do not progress to higher numbers until they are totally confident and have had lots of hands-on, practical experience.


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Last updated: 8 months ago