Number Partners

Sally Ridley's picture
Tue, 03/02/2015 - 09:11 -- Sally Ridley


 Why is this needed?

Schools can identify children who will respond to working with numbers in a small group with an adult. Through the scheme children gain in confidence and skills when it comes to their maths work and their work with an adult who isn't a teacher boosts their attitude to learning. Evaluations show progress is accelerated and teachers acknowledge that they could not provide this small group service to so many.

The aims 

  • Develop numeracy skills and raise attainment
  • Boost enjoyment and confidence with numbers and mathematical problems 
  • Raise self esteem, confidence and social skills

Key points 

  • Links volunteers from local companies with primary school children.  
  • Volunteers go into school on a weekly or fortnightly basis to work on numeracy skills, usually through playing specialist number games.
  • 30 minute sessions usually with three to four children in a group
  • School and business operate in partnership
  • Staff from the school and business co-ordinate the scheme

How the schemes work 

Ablaze provides materials to help recruit volunteers from within the business. 

A company ‘adopts’ a particular school and a group of volunteers visits the school on a weekly basis forming a partnership with the pupils.  

Volunteers are asked to commit to the scheme for a school year, usually starting from September to July and to attend weekly (or sometimes fortnightly) sessions in school, each lasting about 30 minutes. These may be at lunchtimes or at another time during the school day to suit both the school & the business.  Each scheme is tailored to individual needs and the times volunteers are available.  

Training and support 

All volunteers receive an initial two hour training session and complete an Enhanced DBS disclosure check with the Criminal Record Bureau.

Every three months, ideally, the school and the business organise review sessions which can be facilitated by Ablaze. These provide an opportunity for volunteers and school staff to see how the children are benefiting, to share progress, discuss any difficulties and receive further guidance and support.

There is a yearly online evaluation [at] during the summer term and the business & school usually celebrate their year's achievements in the form of a visit for pupils to their buddies' workplace. This has the added value of allowing the students to see their partner business's working environment, visit the 'business world' in the city centre and also gives an insight into their own buddy's job and responsibilities.


In addition to the volunteers time and transport to/from the school, companies are also required to purchase a set of Number Partner games at approximately £180. Ablaze also requests £250 towards number partner training. DBS (disclosure and barring service) checks are currently fully-funded by Bristol City Council, so there is no charge to the business for for these checks.