Best Practice

Tackling maths anxiety and building students' resilience

Maths anxiety is increasingly being recognised as a barrier to learning. Alexandra Riley shares some practical approaches to build secondary school students’ confidence and engagement with the subject

Maths anxiety affects thousands of people across the nation and is widely acknowledged as a barrier to engagement and progress in maths education. Worryingly, it is also linked to a range of other issues: poor financial planning, low self-efficacy in teachers, and difficulty with learning related subjects (Field et al, 2019).

It is unfortunately not uncommon to hear the phrases “I can’t do maths” or “I don’t like maths” echoing around school corridors. But when does dislike of maths become maths anxiety?

The second Power of Maths Roundtable last year saw teachers, academics, charity and business leaders exploring the impact of maths anxiety, share expertise and seek solutions. Here are some of my takeaways for how schools can spot maths anxiety and take steps to alleviate its impact upon key stage 3 and GCSE students.

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