Teaching & Learning Blog

Barbara Freeman
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Using Hegarty Maths

Mention homework and students groan as though it is our pleasure to make them suffer.  But the reality is that it can also provide the teacher with many hours of work – firstly selecting the correct task, then setting it, marking it, DIT, chasing those students who have not done it; all this to provide students with one common task. Then come the excuses – ‘I lost the sheet,’ ‘I didn’t know what to do,’ ‘I wasn’t in when it was set.’  Is there any wonder why a teacher might tactically forget to set the task?

Colin Hegarty is a maths teacher who has experienced all these issues and realised this was a huge burden to teacher workload while questioning what the ultimate value was to students.  He also felt that all students should have access to good maths teaching and that tuition should not be something reserved for those from an affluent background.  From these principles, Hegarty Maths emerged.

Hegarty Maths is a website which has been carefully designed and structured to provide a learning tool to support students and teachers which has a short video and quiz for almost every topic assessed on the mathematics curriculum up to Grade 9 GCSE.

Initially there was resistance from our students to utilise the website requesting written homework instead.  However, this is mainly due to the way it reduces the number of excuses they can provide, or the ability for them to copy someone else’s homework five minutes before the lesson. With Hegarty Maths there is nowhere for students to hide as it carries benefits for teachers; they can see how long students have spent on the quiz, how many times they have watched the video, how many times they have completed the quiz, when they completed the quiz, which questions they got wrong and what answer they put. There is a facility for students and teachers to message each other to communicate and provide feedback. Students do not have to be in school to receive their homework so if they are absent they are still able to access the work. Also, the video provides explanations for students who are not sure how to complete tasks.

The use of Hegarty Maths in our school enables teachers to support students on a more personal level; as with reference to student QLA or feedback from lessons and class work, students can be set a personalised task to address areas of need with ease. If a student has an issue with completing the quiz correctly then the teacher can set ‘building blocks’ to assist students in addressing the prerequisite skills. Students do not have to wait for teachers to set tasks as they can select their own tasks to work on or revisit weaker areas to improve on. Teachers and students can see an overview of their progress and even at a glance see which areas are strong and which need more work. Hegarty Maths can also be used to facilitate ‘flipped learning,’ enabling students to sharpen their skills in preparation for a lesson where the teacher can deliver a lesson to support students using those skills for questions and problems of application.

To support students at Nova Hreod Academy there is a consistent approach across the faculty:

  • Every student is set homework every Friday and has a week to complete the task which provides structure and routine

  • There are Hegarty Maths support sessions after school on a Monday and Wednesday 3 – 4pm staffed by a member of the maths team to assist students

  • Students have been provided with a Hegarty Maths notebook where they can do their working out, self-assess and make notes

It is fantastic to see so many students now engaging with Hegarty Maths, completing effective homework and actively revising, making the whole process more efficient and effective for teachers and students alike.

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