9th National Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties Conference 2017

9th National Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties Conference 2017

SOLD OUT 29th June 2017, Cumberland Hotel, London

Our conference brings together the worlds of research, maths teaching and SEN expertise and will provide opportunities to access and engage with leading practitioners and trainers.

Next year, the two keynote speakers will offer a balance of cutting edge research about dyscalculia and challenging insights into the hot topic of maths mastery learning.

Keynote speakers

  • Developmental dyscalculia: Fresh perspectives - Dr Denes Szucs, Deputy Director, Centre for Neuroscience in Education, Cambridge
  • Mastery for all – a contradiction? - Professor Ruth Merttens, Education Director, Hamilton Trust

This is an essential conference for all teachers of numeracy and maths, SENCos and Learning Support teachers, LA inclusion and numeracy support teams and Educational Psychologists

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Together v2.jpgMore than a one-off event…

What we provide before the event:

▶ Resources to prepare for your day

▶ Design your day! Mix and match 3 different workshops from the 14 choices to meet your professional needs

What you can expect on the day:

▶ Internationally renowned keynotes

▶ 3 Breakout sessions

▶ 15 different workshops for schools, FE & HE

▶ Practical solutions to overcome barriers to learning maths

▶ Professional conversations and networking opportunities

▶ Delegate pack and high quality conference handbook

▶ Exhibition and free prize draw

What you receive after the event:

▶ Presentations and resources for sharing with colleagues

▶ Newsletters with research updates and practical resources


Working together



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 29th June 2017 - Programme


Registration, Coffee and Exhibition




Keynote 1: Developmental dyscalculia: Fresh perspectives


Refreshments and Exhibition


Breakout session 1




Keynote 2: Mastery for all – a contradiction?


Breakout session 2


Refreshments and Exhibition


Breakout Session 3


End of conference

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Workshop Titles, Presenters and Target Age Groups


Breaking Barriers with Numicon - Louise Pennington, SEND Consultant, Oxford University Press

All ages


Please don’t put me in front of a firing squad - Professor Paul Moorcraft, Dyscalculic, award winning novelist, journalist and CEO

All ages


Teaching for Mastery:  A Strategy for Inclusion - Dr Debbie Morgan, Director for Primary, NCETM

All ages


The experience of mathematics anxiety - Dr Dénes Szϋcs, Deputy Director, Centre for Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge

All ages



Broadening and Deepening Mathematical Understanding – Is this possible for children with SpLD? - Gill Shearsby-Fox, Primary Teaching and Learning Maths Adviser, Herts for Learning



How virtual mathematical tools can be used as a scaffold to support learners who have maths difficulties - Emily Cleary, Maths Teacher, Dulwich Preparatory School



Using pre-teaching methods to access  challenging maths concepts - Carolyn Wreghitt, Primary Maths Adviser, Babcock LDP




Using mathematical models to support understanding- Janine Blinko, Freelance consultant in Mathematics education




Consistently inconsistent; Enabling pupils with dyslexia to succeed - Sarah Wedderburn, Principal, Unicornmaths



I see what you mean: Using visual representations to scaffold EAL learners’ solving of word problems - Steve Cooke, Independent EAL Expert



Moving from concrete to abstract: strategies to support the teaching and learning of algebra to SEN learners - Sue Keith, HOD of Mathematics, Stony Dean School




Anticipating and overcoming barriers for pupils on the Autism Spectrum - Liz Lee, Assistant Head/SENCO & Shirley Mitchell, Assistant Head/Maths teacher, Oak Lodge School



Reasoning without numbers - @MrMattock, Director of Mathematics & Numeracy, Brockington College




Developing Number-Sense in Secondary and Further Education: A Structured, Cumulative and Multi-Sensory Approach for Learners with Dyscalculia - Eleanor Machin, Specialist tutor in SpLD, University of Sheffield


& FE



Nuffield Foundation: Developmental dyscalculia and order processing - Dr Kinga Morsanyi, Queens University Belfast


Design your day! Select 3 workshops from these 14 topics to suit your professional needs. Workshop descriptions and pen portraits of the presenters are available on the 'Breakouts' tab.



*Learning Works reserve the right to change the venue, programme, speakers or course content where necessary without prior notice.

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Extra workshop presenter added!

Kinga Morsanyi.jpgDr Kinga Morsanyi

Queens University, Belfast

Comments from feedback forms

"The buzz - I felt inspired and determined to communicate that buzz to my colleagues and pupils."

"Being able to chat to others in the same profession, air difficulties and possible solutions. Positive affirmation of my own teaching theories and practice."

"Fresh approaches to teaching and practical advice on resources and ideas from the keynotes and breakout sessions."

"The variety of speakers and breakout sessions available, the atmosphere of the whole conference and of course the opportunity to speak to other professionals. The venue and facilities of the venue were excellent."

"Excellent balance between research and practice. I like the fact it is concentrated into one day - I get more out of this than some three-day conferences. Organisation is great, very efficient. I like having all the handouts in the one book, and having them on the day rather than later. The venue is very good. Nice, airy space and the catering is excellent."

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Exterior 2.jpgThe Cumberland Hotel

The Cumberland Hotel is one of London’s premier venues for conferences, meetings and training events, situated by Marble Arch


The Cumberland Hotel,
Great Cumberland Place,


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Conference Fees

SOLD OUT Full Fee: £315 + VAT

Fees include all refreshments, lunch and conference materials.

Group discounts:

Groups of 3 + please contact the office for discounts 01672512914

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds can only be made if cancellations are made in writing no later than 28 days before the event otherwise a 50% charge will be incurred. Refunds are not available for cancellations seven days prior to the event. Please click here for the full event booking terms and conditions

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Keynote Speakers

Dr Dénes Szϋcs

Developmental dyscalculia: Fresh perspectives

I will provide an overview of current major theories of developmental dyscalculia (DD). In order to distinguish between these theories we have carried out the largest DD study in the UK. I will discuss findings from this study and conclude that findings suggest that weak visuo-spatial memory is a major factor behind DD. I will also discuss the link between DD and mathematics anxiety based on another very large study, which I will follow up in more details in my workshop.

Pen Portrait

Dénes holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. He investigates numerical and probabilistic understanding in children and adults, weak and gifted mathematical ability, mathematics anxiety (including gender differences) and visuo-spatial memory. Dénes has a keen interest in modern methodological and statistical developments which may increase the reliability and validity of psychological research. Dénes was the recipient of the prestigious scholar award of the James S McDonnel foundation (2013).


Professor Ruth Merttens

Mastery for all – a contradiction? 

My keynote will explore the provenance of the term ‘mastery’ in Anglo-American educational psychology and investigate the implications of the new curriculum for teaching and learning in the diverse and non-homogenous classrooms characteristic of modern Britain.  I also hope to offer practical answers to the questions raised in my talk.

Pen Portrait

Ruth is Education Director of Hamilton Trust, an educational charity producing adaptable resources for primary teachers. She travels the country giving practical, hands-on in-service training on creative teaching in mathematics and English, and has particular expertise in Early Years education. Ruth has written many training materials for the DfES Strategies, including the DfES Planning Guidance in the NNS, the Foundation materials for Mathematics and more recently, was on the advisory group working with DfE on the new primary Maths Curriculum. She contributes regularly to professional journals, educational magazines and newspapers.

Ruth is also Lead Author of the Abacus Maths Scheme published by Pearson and the Ladybird: I’m Ready for Maths series.
Ruth passionately believes that Primary Maths in the UK is not only well-taught by dedicated professionals, but that we have our own distinct ethos, based on creative learning and critical thinking.

J Blinko.pngJanine Blinko

Using mathematical models to support understanding (KS1,2&3)

In this practical session I will enable delegates to reflect on the use of mathematical models to support understanding. Consistent and planned developmental use of these models is at the heart of secure understanding of mathematical structures. Delegates will leave the session with clear strategies for supporting pupils to access mathematical thinking and develop their understanding of key concepts.

Pen Portrait

Janine works as a freelance consultant in primary mathematics. She has worked in schools, mostly primary, for many years with many different roles, including: subject leader, advisory teacher, deputy head teacher in a large primary school, question writing for national tests, senior lecturer, teaching post graduate trainees and GTP trainees, author of articles and curriculum materials, CPD provider for a range of LAs, schools and organisations and researcher.  Her core aim is to support the development of confident, competent and successful mathematicians

Emily Clearly.JPGEmily Cleary

How virtual tools can support learners with maths difficulties (KS1&2)

The emphasis of my workshop will be how virtual mathematical tools, e.g. Kidspiration or NCTM’s National Library of Virtual Manipulatives can be used to scaffold support for learners who have maths difficulties. I will also discuss existing research and studies exploring the use of virtual manipulatives as an effective means for accelerating and deepening students understanding of maths.

Pen Portrait

I have been working as a classroom teacher in the primary sector since 1989. I began to specialise in the teaching of Mathematics after completing a GEST course in the teaching of Mathematics at Greenwich University in 2000. I have since concentrated on teaching children who have specific difficulties in acquiring mathematical concepts. I completed the Advanced Diploma in Overcoming Barriers to Learning Mathematics in 2012 and went on to complete an Open University Masters in Education in 2014. As well as the mandatory module in Educational enquiry, my modules were Technology-enhanced learning and Researching Mathematics Learning. I am currently the maths specialist teacher at Dulwich Prep School, where I teach mathematical concepts through the use of both concrete and virtual manipulatives.

Steve Cooke.JPGSteve Cooke

I See What You Mean; using visual representations to scaffold EAL learners’ solving of word problems (KS2&3)

In this workshop I will provide practical examples of how visual representations can be used to enable early stage and more advanced EAL learners to develop their understanding of the mathematical relations implied in the language of word problems.  Participants will try out examples of additive and multiplicative word problem activities and have opportunities for discussion with colleagues.

Pen Portrait

Steve Cooke is an independent consultant who has worked in the field of English as an Additional Language (EAL) teaching since 1982 as a teacher and head of department.  From 1992 to 2002 he was an EAL Project Manager in Leicester.  He has worked as a consultant for Nottingham City and for the National Strategies as a Regional Adviser.  He is also a recognised lecturer and tutor for the Birmingham University M Ed. Bilingualism in Education course.  He has contributed articles to several publications and is the author of ‘Collaborative Learning in the Classroom’.

photo S Keith.jpgSue Keith

Moving from concrete to abstract: strategies to support the teaching and learning of algebra to SEN learners (KS2&3)

My workshop will explore how to progress from the concrete to the pictorial and then into the abstract when teaching algebra. The workshop will consist of practical activities that have can be taken away and used immediately. All activities will have been used in a range of settings with a range of abilities and ages.

Pen Portrait

Sue Keith is currently HOD of Mathematics and lead teacher with regards to teaching and learning in secondary special school in Amersham, she teaches learners a range of abilities from the equivalent of Key Stage 1 up to Core Maths.  Sue originally started her teaching career in primary schools where in addition to being Subject Leader for Mathematics she has been a deputy headteacher. Sue has also worked for BEAM as a primary consultant and Oxford University as a Numicon Consultant. Sue believes passionately that mathematics should be fun and that all learners whatever their ability can achieve success in mathematics.

Liz Lee.jpgLiz Lee & Shirley Mitchell

Anticipating and overcoming barriers for pupils on the Autism Spectrum (KS2,3&4)

Our workshop will be based on practical experience working with pupils on the autism spectrum with anecdotal evidence and tips from my colleague, a Maths specialist teacher new to autism:
•    Autism, typical profile and gender differences
•    Barriers to learning related to Maths
•    Practical strategies and tips to support students achieve their potential in Maths
There will be an opportunity to ask questions  

Shirley Mitchell.jpgPen Portrait

Liz Lee - Over 30 years teaching experience:  mainstream secondary, LA special and independent residential special schools Assistant Head/ SENCO at Oak Lodge School for pupils with complex learning needs and/or autism including resourced provision for able pupils with additional mental health difficulties, providing Outreach Support to local mainstream schools and SLE for the ETC Teaching Schools Alliance.  
Mentoring or coaching staff with no or limited previous experience of Autism in Oak Lodge and local mainstream schools, supporting colleagues, including Mathematics specialists to modify or adapt teaching practice to remove barriers for students on the autism spectrum.

Shirley Mitchell - Over 25 years teaching experience including head of Mathematics roles in mainstream secondary, LA special school and international schools. Current role: Assistant Head/ Maths teacher at Oak Lodge School 6 years’ specific experience developing strategies and adapting practice to overcome barriers and meet the needs of pupils with autism across the cognitive ability range

Eleanor Machin.jpgEleanor Machin

Developing Number-Sense in Secondary and Further Education: A Structured, Cumulative and Multi-Sensory Approach for Learners with Dyscalculia (KS3,4&FE)

In this fun and thought-provoking workshop, I will introduce you to the Dyscovery Approach. This is a ‘hands-on’ practical session, so be prepared to leave with modelling clay under your finger nails! This will give you the opportunity to reflect on the importance of number-sense, attitudes towards multi-sensory design and delivery , and we will consider how you may adapt materials for particular learner(s).

Pen Portrait

Eleanor Machin is a specialist tutor in Specific Learning Difficulties at the University of Sheffield, working on a 1-1 basis with students, providing diagnostic assessments to staff, and teaching on the Level 7 PgDip in Teaching and Assessing Learners with SpLDs (FE and HE).
Eleanor has worked in the field of neuro-diversity and education for 16 years, and has been an assessor for SpLDs for the past six. In that time, Eleanor has developed a keen interest in dyscalculia and is undertaking research into the nature of dyscalculia, how it impacts on older learners and implications for teaching approaches and diagnosis. She is currently studying for her PhD in the area of the diagnosis of dyscalculia.

Debbie Morgan P3150005.JPGDr Debbie Morgan

Teaching for Mastery:  A Strategy for Inclusion (All Ages)

A teaching for mastery approach is being adopted in main hundreds of main stream classrooms across the country with positive impact on children’s engagement in mathematics. This workshop will explore how the approach might work with children who struggle to learn mathematics and those with pupils who have special educational needs

Pen Portrait

Debbie Morgan has a passion for mathematics. She has taught from Reception to Year 6, been a Headteacher, an advisor for a local authority, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at the University of Northampton, Programme Director of a large Mathematics Specialist Teacher Programme (MaST) and continues to inspire practitioners through her engagement in professional development for teachers and professional leaders. She took up the post of Director for Primary Mathematics at the National Centre (NCETM) in September 2012 and has been involved with the Department for Education in planning for the implementation of the New Mathematics Curriculum.

paul-moorcraft-pic.jpgProfessor Paul Moorcraft

Please don’t put me in front of a firing squad (All ages)

I will explain what it is like to be an acute dyscalculic and how teachers, parents and family can relate to the needs and coping mechanisms of a sufferer.

Pen Portrait

Professor Brian Butterworth assessed Paul as having the lowest score in mathematical skills he had ever tested. Yet Paul completed six university courses in the UK, Middle East and Africa. And then taught full-time at ten universities (and Sandhurst). He is a professor, film producer, military expert and award-winning novelist and historian, a broadcaster and director of a London think tank.  His book on dyscalculia – It Just Doesn’t Add Up – explains how an acute dyscalculic can become a ‘super-achiever’.

Kinga Morsanyi.jpgDr Kinga Morsanyi

The role of order processing abilities in early mathematics learning, dyscalculia and mature mathematical skills

In recent years, investigations into order processing have taken a central stage in research into mathematical cognition. In this session, I will summarize how order processing is important both for early mathematical development and for higher level mathematical skills. I will also explain how order processing is relevant for diagnostic and intervention purposes.

Kinga Morsanyi is a lecturer in cognitive, developmental and educational psychology. She has received her PhD from the University of Plymouth, and subsequently worked at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Cambridge and Queen’s University Belfast. She is interested in the development of mathematical skills and in people’s emotional responses to mathematics (in particular, mathematical anxiety). She also has an interest in the development of thinking and reasoning skills (for example, how children and adults understand information about probabilistic outcomes and risk).

Louise Pennington (sponsored by OUP)

Louise Pennigton.jpg

Breaking Barriers with Numicon (All ages)

This activity led session focuses on the size and magnitude of numbers and what Numicon can do to make a difference to the learning of children who experience difficulties with this fundamental concept. Experience what children experience when learning maths through the hands on multi-sensory approach central to Numicon. Consider what you can do to make a difference when supporting children through: diagnostic assessment and personalized learning to break down barriers to their mathematical learning.

Pen Portrait

Louise is an independent consultant in the field of SEND and a lead Numicon consultant and author. She is an associate lecturer for Manchester Metropolitan University and worked in partnership with the university to deliver the National award for SENCOs in her previous role as manager of a Loval Authority specialist teaching team, where she was also the LA specialist teacher for SEN in maths and Dyscalculia. Louise is an Achievement for All Coach- a national not for profit charity that transforms the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, those who are looked after and have SEND by working with schools to ensure the best possible outcomes for these children.

gillian_shearsby_fox cropped.pngGill Shearsby-Fox

Broadening and Deepening understanding – Is this possible for children with SpLD? (KS1&2)

Of course it is! It is not just possible it is essential.
This workshop aims to provide strategies to ensure that children with SpLD can access and excel in low entry, high ceiling tasks that challenge and deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts. Problem solving can successfully cement key learning in long term memory in a fun and multisensory way.  My workshop will model teaching strategies that enable the children to explore concepts and make connections with what they already know.

Pen Portrait

Gillian has been a member of the Herts for Learning Maths Teaching and Learning Advisory team since September 2014. In this role she is continuing her commitment to ensuring that all children leave primary school with an understanding of number and the ability to tackle mathematical problems with confidence.
Before that she was on the Leadership Team of a large north London Junior School. Mainly as the school’s Deputy Head but she also undertook a period of Headship. A large part of her teaching role was supporting children with a range of SEND needs, including SpLD, in their learning of mathematics.
Gillian works with teachers and runs teacher training on supporting children with misconceptions in maths, especially those with SpLD. She has completed her Level 5 certification in ‘Supporting children with specific learning difficulties in English and Mathematics’ accredited by the Dyslexia Association.

Szucs.jpgDr Dénes Szϋcs

The experience of mathematics anxiety (All Ages)

In our recent large scale study we have interviewed many children about their experience of mathematics anxiety. We will interactively discuss interview data and aim to interpret it in light of quantitative data we have also collected.

Pen Portrait

Dénes holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. He investigates numerical and probabilistic understanding in children and adults, weak and gifted mathematical ability, mathematics anxiety (including gender differences) and visuo-spatial memory. Dénes has a keen interest in modern methodological and statistical developments which may increase the reliability and validity of psychological research. Dénes was the recipient of the prestigious scholar award of the James S McDonnel foundation (2013).

Sarah Wedderburn.jpgSarah Wedderburn

‘Consistently inconsistent’ – part of the SpLD maths profile.  Can we help? (KS2&3)

Students with an SpLD in maths will be able to manipulate a concept one day, and be completely unable to remember how to tackle a similar problem the next. In this practical session we will discuss a three pronged approach to enable our students to be more independent workers by: (i) ensuring real understanding of the concept; (ii) running a spiralling overlearning/revisiting programme; and (iii) using strategies to make a prose maths problem more comprehensible.

Pen Portrait

Sarah Wedderburn is the principal of Unicornmaths which she set up in 2004 to focus on maths remediation and dyscalculia. She runs the Unicornmaths Studio with three specialist teachers providing tuition for students struggling with maths, and also teaches part-time as an SEN teacher in a mainstream primary school.  She is the author of the Unicornmaths Programme, a cumulative multi-sensory maths programme for the remediation of maths difficulties.  Sarah speaks at conferences in the UK and abroad and provides Insets and training courses in multi-sensory maths remediation.

Carolyn Wreghitt.jpgCarolyn Wreghitt

How can we support all children to access age-appropriate mathematics through effective use of pre-teaching (KS1&2)

In this workshop we will explore how pre-teaching can be used effectively to support all children to access age-appropriate mathematics, using research in schools where teachers have trialled different approaches. This is an opportunity to find out about the results of an action research project led by the Babcock LDP Primary Maths Team and funded by Devon County Council, Jurassic Maths Hub and Cornwall & West Devon Maths Hub, involving teachers across several counties.

Pen Portrait

Carolyn Wreghitt is a Primary Maths Adviser for Babcock LDP based in Devon. The Babcock LDP Primary Maths Team is a team of advisers with a wealth of experience in supporting the teaching and learning of mathematics. The team regularly run action research projects in schools in response to national and local priorities and engage with, contribute to and respond to the latest research, always looking to develop their practice.
Carolyn taught for many years in secondary and primary schools in Leicestershire and Devon. She is a NCETM Accredited Professional Development Lead, Numicon affiliate trainer and Every Child Counts Lead Trainer. She has a particular interest in supporting children who struggle with mathematics and has an MA in Early Maths Intervention.

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