Become a Partner School

We partner with state primary schools across London to support children in Years 2 and 3 who would benefit from help in maths. The school selects the children.

Our trained volunteers work one-to-one with each child, weekly over the school year.  Sessions are during school hours but outside the classroom and involve games and other creative activities to engage the child and to help develop their confidence and skills in maths.

If you are interested in becoming a Number Champions partner school, please have a look at our FAQs below, and then email us at, and we can discuss or send you more information as appropriate.

‘We have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming Number Champions into our school. The volunteers have been very child-friendly, patient and understanding. The children have all really enjoyed it and have grown in confidence alongside the improvement in their [maths] skills. It has been a wonderful opportunity for some of our children to have really concentrated one-to-one adult attention.’

— Partner school, Brent


Why children in Years 2 and 3?

Our initial research with teachers and with educational organisations showed a strong consensus that early intervention was most effective. This has been borne out by continuing feedback from our partner schools.

An additional benefit from specialising in one age group is that we can train all our volunteers in the same way, and they and we can all learn from each other to improve how we deliver support.

Do you charge the school a fee?

We charge a fee of £60 per child for a full year. However, if the school finds a volunteer, we charge only £30 per child. Thus, if a school has three volunteers working with a total of nine children, its annual fee will be between £270 and £540.

As a comparison, the Education Endowment Foundation rates a fee of £80 per child for a year as a ‘very low cost’ intervention.

We deliver our intervention on a ‘best efforts’ basis.  Our fee structure means that schools will not pay for volunteer sessions they do not receive.

Our fee is budgeted to cover about a quarter of our costs, with the rest coming from sponsors and donations.

We are exploring funding opportunities which might support all or part of the fees for a small number of schools in financial difficulties.

How did you design your intervention?

We originally designed our intervention based on discussions with experienced teachers, incorporating ideas from schemes where volunteers support children with reading.

We also consulted with academics specialising in maths education in primary schools.

We continue to develop our intervention, building on feedback from our In-School Volunteers, our Mentors (all with experience as primary school teachers), and our partner schools.

Which children should the school select?

We ask teachers to select children who are behind in maths and who they think can benefit from dedicated help.

Our volunteers support children with a wide range of abilities, but they cannot replace the work of a Special Educational Needs professional; we therefore ask schools not to select children needing such professional help.

How do you know your intervention has a positive impact?

At the end of each school year, we ask the class teacher of each child we work with to evaluate the child’s progress over the year compared to the rest of the class on both confidence and skills. Teachers have consistently rated a very high percentage of children as showing an observable improvement in both categories.

For example, in 2022-23, 86% of children showed a measurable increase in confidence with maths, 79% were more engaged in classroom lessons, and 83% showed a measurable catch-up in attainment with the rest of the class. The detailed results are shown in our Annual Reports.

We are in discussion with academics about creating an external evaluation of our intervention. A statistically meaningful analysis will require tracking hundreds of children. Our goal is to achieve this by 2026-27.

What time are the sessions?

Exact times depend on the school and on the volunteer, but will be during the school day. As agreed with the school, different volunteers may come to the school on different days or times. Schools generally ask volunteers to commit to the same time each week.

Most volunteers will only be available for a specific slot during the week so, if schools are able to be flexible on timing, this may make it easier to supply volunteers.

Where do sessions take place?

The actual location will depend on the particular school but will be outside the classroom.  It might be the library, the dining room, or a corridor area. Because of Covid, we require the school to ensure that the location is well ventilated.

The volunteer fetches the child from the classroom at the start of each session and accompanies them back to the classroom afterwards.

Who provides the learning materials?

We equip our In-School Volunteers with a set of ‘manipulatives’ including whiteboard, pens, dice, counters, cards, number squares, and snakes and ladders Their training and support includes recommendations of internet sites where they can watch short videos or download resources to print. Teachers volunteering with us have also written articles on how to instruct individual maths skills, and these are available to volunteers and others through our website.

We ask that schools assist where possible by lending our volunteers materials which we cannot supply them individually, such as ‘Numicon’ and toy money.

How many Number Champions volunteers will there be at the school?

We agree this with each school, depending on its requirements. A single-form-entry school might want only two volunteers, but a larger school would usually have at least three volunteers. We introduce the volunteers to each other so that they can share experiences and ideas and cooperate in their approach to the school.

How do your sessions work?

Sessions are 25 to 30 minutes, to fit the school timetable – this includes collecting the child from the classroom and taking them back after the session.

In the first few sessions of the year, the volunteer will get to know the child through chatting, playing games, and doing simple maths exercises.  This should show the volunteer which maths skills the child needs to develop and the best way to give the child support in this. The volunteer will tailor the sessions around the needs of the child.

Sessions typically involve discussions and mathematical games as well as more conventional ‘classroom’ exercises. Often the volunteer will work with concrete objects with the child, to help reinforce basic concepts and skills.

On the request of the teacher, the volunteer may sometimes work through specific examples or activities relating to current classroom teaching. However, this should not replace the overall focus of our programme on ensuring that the child develops a sound grasp of foundational maths skills missing at the start of the year.

What is a typical game?

If a child is asked, ‘What is 2+8?’ they will see this as doing a sum.

If a child is invited to pick two cards and see if they can find a pair that add up to 10, they will feel they are playing a game.

Our philosophy is to help them find the fun in maths.

An example of using a game in place of ‘just doing sums’ would be as follows. The volunteer mixes 18 playing cards made up of two suits of one to nine – and then places them face down. The first player turns over a pair of cards. The aim is to find pairs adding to ten. If a pair does add to ten, the player keeps the pair and has another go. If the pair does not add to ten, the player replaces the cards face down – and both players try to remember the cards. Then the second player has a go, and so on.  The winner is the player with the most pairs at the end.

The game gives the child the opportunity to reinforce ‘number bonds’ for ten, but equally importantly it gives a framework for talking through strategies for adding and subtracting – and for having fun.

How do you and the school interact?

We aim to establish effective relationships with each school, both at a personal level with teachers and other staff and through structured communication around administrative processes.

We ask that the school provides a single teaching ‘coordinator’, typically the Head of Maths or a member of the Senior Leadership Team. This allows our volunteers to liaise about issues without having to interrupt classroom teachers during the teaching day.  We also request a single contact for administration.

Number Champions will also provide a single contact for administration and will assign one of our Mentors to support our volunteers on educational issues and to be available to the school coordinator.

A key relationship is between the teacher and the volunteer. We appreciate that teachers generally cannot be interrupted during the school day, so we ask the school to put the teacher and the volunteer in email contact. We ask our volunteers to give periodic updates to the teacher on the child’s progress, and we encourage teachers to give appropriate feedback and direction so that the volunteer can optimise the intervention for the good of the child.

What written agreement is there between the school and Number Champions?

We have developed our standard partnership agreement with pro-bono lawyers. It lays out what Number Champions and its volunteers will do and what we expect from the school. It covers specific requirements in the areas of safeguarding, data protection, and insurance. It also defines our fee structure in detail, including a rebate to be paid to the school if our volunteers do not deliver a minimum number of sessions with children.

How do you partner with other organisations?

As well as working directly with individual schools, in some cases we partner with Multi-Academy Trusts which introduce us to their schools.  We also partner with other charities, such as West London Zone where our volunteers run our intervention as part of WLZ’s overall programme in a school.