This is a joint project between York Trials Unit and a team based in the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University.
The project will evaluate the impact of Maths Champions, an online approach to supporting maths provision and its development in early years' settings (this includes the evaluation of existing provision and providing online resources with the aim of improving practitioner confidence). Maths Champions was developed by the National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) and is particularly concerned with delivering maths through play. The Maths Champions themselves are graduates working within a nursery. In being a Maths Champion, participants agree to participate in online training in order to develop their practice and disseminate this in the nursery in which they are employed.
The evaluation of Maths Champions comprises a pragmatic two armed cluster randomised controlled trial, with wait list, and random allocation at the level of the nursery. There will be a pilot phase which primarily concerns the feasibility of recruitment and follow-up, whilst also establishing the projected numbers of eligible participants. The pilot also seeks to establish the numbers of eligible participants whose parents or carers will give consent for their participation in the evaluation (including completion of the ‘Assessment Profile on Entry for Children and Toddlers’ (ASPECTS) assessment). Secondary outcomes identified at this stage include practitioner confidence, educational level of practitioner and evaluation of the nursery environment.
Following a pilot phase, the full-scale randomised controlled trial (RCT) will begin in the spring of 2016 with recruitment of participating nurseries.