An independent review of MathsBeat – by Sara Tilley

Sara Tilley Headshot

Sara Tilley from Curious Maths shares her review of MathsBeat.

Recently, I had the chance to try out MathsBeat, a new digitally-led Primary Maths mastery resource from Oxford. Lockdown restrictions meant I was unable to try it out in the classroom but I took the opportunity to have a good look at what MathsBeat has to offer. Here are my favourite features:

Interactive Whiteboard Software (IWB)

I was delighted to find that MathsBeat features an IWB. Moving forward teachers will be so much more tech-savvy than before COVID-19. I think the IWB will be used heavily to support teaching and is a big selling point of the product; the workspaces are excellent.

I know the IWB has already been a feature with the Numicon software but we are in different times now. Most teachers I know are using websites for their virtual manipulatives at the moment; not having to go onto a website will be a benefit and having the official Numicon shapes on the MathsBeat software is a biggie!

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MathsBeat IWB tool
MathsBeat’s Interactive Whiteboard Software provides a collection of representations used within the MathsBeat tasks, as well as a range of workspaces to support mathematical discussions. The IWB workspaces can also be saved and shared with colleagues across the school.
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Expert videos from Mike Askew

The Mike Askew videos are a firm favourite of mine. They are really useful for developing subject knowledge in the area you are going to teach. Mike Askew helps you to think more deeply about how to teach for mastery and how to assess understanding. The video clips are short, to the point and very clear. They are like little nuggets of CPD!

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Embedded throughout MathsBeat’s teaching sequence are professional development resources to support all levels of teaching experience.
These include unit opener videos from Series Editor Mike Askew, designed to help to build subject knowledge and deepen understanding of how to teach and assess for mastery.
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Digital Planners

MathsBeat features digital planners, which are easy to follow. Everything you need is there; you get a real feel for the sequence of work through the presentations, videos, and practice sheets provided.

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MathsBeat includes time-saving Digital Planners that collate IWB software, front-of-class slides and downloadable pupil practice activities into one easily accessible place.
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Well-structured and easy to follow

The content is easy to navigate and the guidance is clear. There is a lot of it, but the tabs work well to break the year groups into terms, topics, weeks and so on.

I really like the 3-phase teaching sequence approach that MathsBeat offers. The structure allows for getting children communicating mathematically and thinking more deeply. It will work well for the primary classroom and is clearly explained.

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MathsBeat teaching sequence:
1. Pre-emptive teaching suggestions and ‘Launch Tasks’ at the start of the unit/week formatively assess each child’s individual starting point and highlights any gaps in knowledge.
2. Each Learning Task contains suggested prompts, actions and questions which provide opportunities for deep learning; while also providing effective strategies for Teachers to support children who may need it. Going deeper features take the same task further for learners that are ready
3. Bigger thinking for all tasks at the end of each unit provides opportunities to encourage deeper thinking. Support features outline how to make getting started on the task easier so that it’s accessible for all. Deepen features outline how to build in challenge to the task and encourage greater depth.
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Teacher’s Handbooks

The Teacher’s Handbooks rank highly in my list of things I most like most about MathsBeat.

The ‘Tasks in Practice’ are such a useful addition and provide teachers with an insight of what to expect and how they might ask questions to consolidate and deepen the children’s understanding. Having a picture of what it might look like in action is very helpful and the questions and statements provided help the teachers think more deeply about the activities. They are clearly set out with plenty of visuals to support the narrative. Additionally, the ‘On track’, ‘Going Deeper’ and ‘Needing Support’ parts work well under the umbrella of mastery.

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MathsBeat’s Teacher Handbooks are the ‘pick up and go’ resource for planning, teaching and assessment. They contain guidance on how to question to develop children’s reasoning and problem-solving skills and provide visual case studies of children’s work, as well as real conversations between teachers and children, with detailed commentary for benchmarking. They also include a visual snapshot of the National Curriculum objectives covered within each strand of the Digital Planner.
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Sara Tilley is a Primary Maths Consultant through her company, Curious Maths. She has worked in primary education for twenty-five years, with nine years spent as a Primary Maths Consultant for Enfield Local Authority. She is an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST), an National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM) Professional Development Lead and has an MA in Education. Sara currently writes and delivers the Primary Maths CPD programme for all teachers in Enfield, Barnet and Brent schools.

MathsBeat is a digitally-led Primary Maths mastery resource for Key Stage 1 and 2. Overseen by expert authors and series editors, Mike Askew and Robert Wilne, MathsBeat is designed to engage ALL children with maths and provide them with the depth of learning or support they need.

The clear and consistent teaching sequence builds in progression and assessment throughout and includes embedded professional development resources to support all levels of teaching experience. Find out more at