A parent’s perspective

Negative Numbers 

Marijke Walters 


It is a key component of secondary school mathematics to be able to work with negative numbers. The concept is used in both number work and algebra and geometry, so it is crucial that a good understanding is acquired so students can progress mathematically.


Sadly, it is not always taught well. While different schools of thought recommend different approaches for teaching adding and subtracting negative numbers, I would like to share my way of teaching this. It is based on nearly 20 years of experience working with thousands of learners in mainstream and special schools in the UK.




This video is designed to be used with a supporting adult or as a professional development resource for teachers on a possible example of explaining negative numbers to their learners. There is no quick fix here; make sure you are working with the student through every step. 


Have fun and good luck! I hope it will make you or your learner a little more confident.


Marijke Walters can be contacted here – 




Dyscalculia Teacher Training 

Edge Hill University and Chester University 


Are you interested in training to become a Dyscalculia specialist?


Find out more about it in these two videos – 


Edge Hill University – 



You can find out more details here – 




Chester university –



You can find out more details here – 









Tutor Tuesday 

Elizabeth Johnson 


I have worked as a teacher for 19 years and special needs teacher for the last 10 years. During that time, I have worked with children of all ages and all needs. I love working in this
role and am passionate about helping children to learn.

I decided to specialise as a dyslexia teacher 3 years ago. I have always had a special interest in dyslexia and was keen to learn more about it. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at
college, and having this diagnosis helped me to succeed at college and then at university.

After specialising in dyslexia, I decided to learn more about dyscalculia. At school, I always enjoyed mathematics, I liked that there was a right or wrong answer, which wasn’t the case with English. I want to reduce the anxiety surrounding maths for some people. I enrolled in a level 5 dyscalculia course. I found it interesting to learn about the different ways to help
children who struggle, especially how to use visuals to help children learn number facts.

Besides teaching, I now work part-time assessing children and adults for dyslexia and dyscalculia. I want to help people learn more about their difficulties; as this knowledge was invaluable to me during my education.

Maths Anxiety Awareness Day – November 10th 2022  


We have organised a number of events to promote an awareness

of Maths Anxiety: –


  • We have officially registered November 10th as the ‘MATHS ANXIETY AWARENESS DAY’ and we will organise unique events around that day every year to promote awareness of this important condition, which affects both children and adults.
  • We plan to have a free webinar on the actual day this year which kicks off at 7.30pm in the evening and will include videos from (1) Dominic Petronzi, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Derby (school of psychology). He is a member of the University’s Mathematics Anxiety Research Group (MARG) and his PhD focused on exploring and understanding when mathematics anxiety develops in children and what contributes towards this. In this video Dom will answer questions from Rob Jennings, about Maths Anxiety. (2) Two videos from people who sufferer from Maths Anxiety (both an adult and a child). At the end of the event we will invite questions from subscribers who are in attendance.
  • We have teamed up with Twinkl (www.twinkl.co.uk), an international online educational publishing house, producing teaching and educational materials, to produce a video and top tips to help their Teaching Assistant’s group to identify and help those suffering from Maths Anxiety. They will also include an article in their newsletter which is circulated to all of their members.
  • We plan to post a number of great articles written by people who specialise in Maths Anxiety.We will offer a free ‘Maths Anxiety checklist’ download for parents, teachers and teaching assistants, who would like to quantify the level of maths anxiety of their pupil/ child.

Tutor Tuesday – Maths Anxiety 

Rebecca Thompson


While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from a learning  difficulty. Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety when confronted by a maths problem. It is also thought that girls are more affected than boys. 

 Maths anxiety can be so severe “that it appears the child cannot do any maths at all, but really it is the anxiety that is the barrier, not the maths.”

Judy Hornigold

 Understanding Maths Learning Difficulties

It can have physical effects (such as nail biting and stomach aches) as well as psychological symptoms, leading to low self-esteem and a difficulty recalling facts

In ‘From Science to Education,’ Brian Butterworth has more recently stated that “children with dyscalculia were twice as likely to have high anxiety,” which can lead to avoidance. In fact, any testing situation will raise anxiety levels. Additional information can also be found in the Cambridge University report on maths anxiety.

The trouble with anxiety is that it can disrupt working memory. Working memory is associated with learning: the ability to hold and manipulate information over short periods of time, such as in mental arithmetic. A student may perform poorly not because of a weakness in maths or working memory, but due to maths anxiety preventing them from using their brain-power efficiently.

How can those with maths anxiety be identified and supported?

Check out Rebecca’s full article here – 


There is further information on dyscalculia,  screening for dyscalculia or for a full diagnostic assessment at rebecca@educationaccess.co.uk.