Redbridge SERC



The DfES defines Dyscalculia in terms of:

' A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer of use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.'

Dyscalculia literally means 'difficulty with calculations'.

Fact sheets

Training / Help

Further help and support can be obtained from:

  • Educational Pyschologist
  • Hatton Outreach


Screenshot for video: Number bond activity

Number bond activity

Farmer Pete - a Number Fun song by Dave Godfrey that helps children understand Number Bonds to 10.

Screenshot for video: Number bonds using a grid like Numicon

Number bonds using a grid like Numicon

  Basic number facts to 10 using the tens frame.          

Learning Aids

Cool Math 4 kids Website

Cool Math 4 kids Website

Available from: Cool math 4 kids

This is a very visually stimulating site- designed to encourage students to click to see what will happen!This would be an attractive site for pupils interested in gaming and requiring overlearning opportunities. Very very busy site but one…

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you recommend some basic numeracy tips?
    • To develop memory skills for numerals, enter fictional names and numbers into a mobile phone ( does not need to be connected to a network). Ask the students to remember a telephone number - if they type it in correctly the name should display.
    • To support difficulty with symbol direction always place a symbol eg x in a box, this will help clarifiy its orientation.
    • Ask students to read aloud a question before starting, to ensure they are interpreting the question correctly.
    • Give students one question at a time, stick in book at the end of the session or staple together.
    • HTU - colour code each column to support placement
    • Place coloured dots onto a ruler as a reminder where to put your fingers.
    • Place dycem on the back of a ruler to prevent it slipping.
    • Teach numeral formation in groups ( 1,2,3) ( 4,5,6) ( 7,8,9) to prevent confusion between like numerals each 3 and 8
    • When making worksheets / precision teaching cards use drawing toolbar in Word.
    • Precision teaching 
    • Commutative law fully understood and internalised before moving on eg 4+3   3+4
    • Use visualisation eg 8 icre creams and 2 melting 
    • Colour code bowls for addition / subtraction to prompt directional movment 
  • Any there any general support recommendations?
    • There is little research whether there is one form or several, therefore several strategies may need to be developed.
    • Answering mental maths questions may be very difficult - extra time need to process or extra visual support
    • Beging new skills with concrete examples and later moving to more abstract applications.
    • Ensure pupils understand the language before starting a task
    • Work in an environment with minimal distractions, and have tools at hand.
    • Repeated reinforcement and specific practice, followed by opportunity to generalise.
    • Use graph paper to help keep numbers in line.
    • Formally teach estimation.
    • Teach visualisation techniques.
    • Be patient- pupils report slightest misunderstanding can overwhelm the student and cause emotional distress.
    • Read the problem out loud and listen carefully- this uses auditory skills which are usually a strength.
    • Modelling an example.
    • Link to real life situation.
    • Uncluttered worksheets- even one problem on one piece of paper at a time.
    • Memorise facts
    • Connect 4- talk about all the possibilities before moving
    • Practice classification skills
    • Weight- a towel weighs the same whether it is lying flat or crumpled
    • Sequencing using lego - Lego Books with breakdown of model building
  • What are the prerequisite skills for mathematics?
    Students need to have the ability to:
    • relate size to quantity eg learning that 5 is greater than 3
    • understand more or less, and relate this to the symbol < >
    • know that 2 different size shapes can weigh the same (concrete by 6yrs and abstract by 10 yrs)
    • see that two lines are the same length, curved or straight ( 7 yrs)
    • understand differences in shapes/ size of the container of a given amount of liquid does not alter the amount within it (9yrs)
  • What are the signs and symptoms of dyscalculia in a primary aged student?
    • Difficulty learning to count
    • Trouble recognising printed numbers
    • Difficulty tying together the idea of a number and how it exists in the world
    • Poor memory for numbers
    • Trouble organising things in a logical way/ sorting shapes
    • Trouble learning maths facts ( + - X )
    • Difficulty developing problem solving skills
    • Poor long term memory for maths
    • Not familiar with math vocab
    • Difficulty measuring things
    • Avoiding games that require strategy
    • Trouble with sorting by shape, colour, size
    • Difficulty with recognising groups and patterns
    • Difficulty with comparison
  • What are the signs and symptoms of dyscalculia in a secondary aged student?
    • Unable to imagine number situation in their head
    • Difficulties with position and direction
    • Reading and writing skills are generally good
    • Language processing difficulty
    • Difficulty with sequencing, remembering specific facts and formulae, decoding, memory.
    • Basic maths facts not mastered
    • Maths phobia
    • Mathematical capacity significantly lower than in other areas such as verbal/ written ability
    • Difficulty with abstract concepts such as time, always late
    • Good memory for printed words, but difficulty reading numbers, number sequence
    • Confused by changes in routine
    • Poor maths long term memory
    • Difficulty playing strategy games like chess, bridge, sudoku