An American in Tower Hamlets

As a part of my American overseas program, I had the privilege of working with THEBP on numerous volunteer schemes from within the Curriculum Team. I edited and organised various activities for Abacus and BEE, two multi-session programmes that familiarise primary school children with financial terminology (i.e. tax, interest, debit, credit, loans) and the world of work. Some activities I put together include a matching game about needs versus wants, a money word search, a bartering activity with products for currency and a budgeting game with pasta shells.

These were also my favourite programmes to attend because they were long-term, which provided the opportunity to work with the same group of pupils over an extended duration of time on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. This allows volunteers to develop a rapport with the pupils, which helps students trust volunteers and feel more comfortable sharing ideas and insight. As opposed to a programme where volunteers only work with a small group of pupils for a few hours and likely never see them again, the long-term programmes provide volunteers with the chance to share experiences and knowledge with the entire class through rotating to different small groups in every session. Not only does this allow volunteers to figure out which pupils need extra support and watch them grow, but it also eliminates the excess time spent on introductions of volunteers and adjustment on the pupils’ end.Hanna - H2H4 (003)

Another programme that achieves this is called the NumberPartners Challenge, where pupils compete in groups of two to four with a business volunteer in three rounds of math problems with a half hour for each round, to make it to the final round. I designed the final round of the 2017 Number Partners Challenge after researching maths anxiety to better understand the need for programmes such as Number Partners in primary schools to combat the onset of maths anxiety prior to the start of secondary school. As a maths major in university, I thoroughly enjoyed this and learned a lot about maths curriculum in secondary school and the process of curriculum being designed, presented, improved and implemented.

Additionally, I have helped to facilitate workshops focused on banking, apprenticeships and public speaking with the Enterprise Skills and Financial Literacy Team at various secondary schools. Not only has this helped me understand the community that THEBP serves and its wide range of aspirations, but it has also taught me about the UK education system and the business world as a whole. The experiences that I have had in the past three months have been immensely valuable in improving my confidence, public speaking, conflict management and networking abilities. I can honestly say that as a student, an intern and a volunteer, I have applied THEBP’s mission statement to my own life: learn more, do more, become more.

July 2016 Volunteer of the Month in Tower Hamlets is a Number Partner

This month’s winner is…

Sabrina Law PhotoSabrina Law from the Financial Conduct Authority, who currently coordinates the Number Partners Scheme at Woolmore Primary School, attending the majority of the sessions within the school year. She has previously taken part in other schemes, facilitating mock interview workshops in East London. Additionally, as a student, Sabrina worked with children who had behavioural disorders, providing recreational activities and a programme to develop their ability to integrate with their peer groups.

About her volunteering on the Number Partners Scheme, Sabrina says: “I decided to volunteer as not only do I enjoy working with children but I had helped my younger sister with her maths in primary and secondary school and this stemmed my interest in teaching maths on a wider scale. When I heard about the scheme through an internal recruitment drive I instantly signed up and within a year was co-ordinating the scheme.”

Sabrina finds the scheme to be a very rewarding experience – not only is it nice to see the children improving in their maths and thoroughly enjoying the sessions, she says it also takes her away from the desk, enabling her to take part in something that she enjoys whilst also giving back to the Community.

She finds that the highlight of working with the children is their enthusiasm when entering the various competitions that THEBP have put on. The children worked very hard on their entries and their hard work paid off as for two years in a row Woolmore Primary Schools students have won the Number Partners Challenge and the Tower Hamlets Video Competition.

Sabrina says: “I am extremely proud of the children and witnessing them winning year on year shows that hard work truly pays off.”

Arthur J. Gallagher team members in Bournemouth make volunteering count at Bethany Junior


PUPILS from Bournemouth’s Bethany Junior School have buddied-up with team members from Arthur J. Gallagher to boost their maths skills.

The new relationship, one of the first of its kind in Dorset, is part of the National Number Partners programme which has been operating in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets since 2004, and supports seven to 14 year olds with motivation, confidence and attainment in numeracy.

Sixteen Year 3 and 4 Bethany pupils have been paired with 8 volunteers from Arthur J. Gallagher and will spend half an hour a week playing fun number games together.  Volunteers from Arthur J. Gallagher’s headquarters in London already support young people in Tower Hamlets schools via the Lloyd’s Community Programme.

Recently named as one of the world’s most ethical companies for the fifth year running, Arthur J. Gallagher, a global leader in insurance brokerage and risk management, is an organisation with social responsibility at its heart.

Hugo Rowland-Hill, Marketing Executive and community champion at the company said: “Number Partners struck a chord with our teams.  We can see the impact it is having in other parts of the country and were keen to bring it to our local community here in Bournemouth. Through our matched giving scheme at Gallagher, we are able to donate money to the charities we are supporting in addition to volunteering hours. We hope the relationship with the school is long lasting and that volunteers and children continue to look forward to weekly visits.”


Steve Cottrell, acting Headteacher of Bethany CE Junior School, said “As a school we are always looking for ways to link with local businesses, and as maths is a key focus of our development plan, this seemed like a great opportunity. The children have found the experience of Number Partners exciting and engaging. The focused activities and games promote key numeracy skills that are vital to helping our children progress. We look forward to continuing with the Number Partners programme into the future and would like to thank the team at Gallagher for their enthusiasm for this project.”

On 11th July, pupils are invited to celebrate the partnership with a visit to the company offices in the Abbey Life Building.  They will tour the building, attend a maths-themed board meeting and have lunch in the café to experience what it’s like to be an adult in the workplace and how maths can be applied to many careers.

Pupils multiply their maths skills at the Number Partners Challenge 2016 Grand Final at XL Catlin 

Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership hosted its fourth annual Number Partners Challenge final where top scoring teams from across the borough competed against each other on their hardest maths challenge yet.

NP Final Pic1

Teams of finalists waited with bated breath as the winners of the Number Partners Challenge 2016 were announced at the end of the Grand Final, hosted by global insurance company XL Catlin on Friday 27th May. Out of a record 73 participating teams from 13 Tower Hamlets schools that entered the competition in mid-April, nine teams were invited to the final. After competing in an hour-long maths challenge live at the final, the self-named ‘Hexadecagon’ team from Woolmore Primary were announced as the winners, followed by runners up ‘Beanishy Beano Returns’ from English Martyrs RC Primary.

To get to the final, pupils had to determine how many sheep and hens made up 8 heads and 22 legs, among other tricky problems, over three rounds.  All the finalists will be rewarded with a trip to Brighton’s University of Sussex in June to find out what it’s like to be a student at a top university outside of London.

Year 6 pupil Tahira from the winning team said her favourite part of the challenge was, “problem-solving because you have to figure things out by yourself, and also the prizes!”

One of the volunteers, Cemile Turker from Financial Conduct Authority, who is a Number Partner at Woolmore Primary said; “It’s brilliant to see the pupils working together as a team and I hope they’ll continue to do that when they go to secondary school.”

Another pupil, Morium, said about her volunteer Cemile, “she motivates us.  When she finds the answer to something she doesn’t’ tell us straight away, she’ll show us some way we can get to the answer ourselves.”

Managed by Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP), Number Partners supports 7-14 year olds with attainment, confidence and motivation in numeracy. The scheme pairs volunteers from the business community with pupils for half an hour per week to play fun maths games, whilst simultaneously bringing young people into contact with role models from the world of work. There are currently 450 Number Partners working in 37 primary schools throughout Tower Hamlets.

The annual Number Partners Challenge takes the partnership further, with pupils and volunteers forming teams to complete three rounds of stretching maths-related challenges, using their problem-solving, logic and teamwork. Becky Feetham, Senior Project Manager at Tower Hamlets EBP who started the competition said: “Our mission is to help students to learn more, do more, and become more, and numeracy is a critical life skill within this aim.  Number Partners business volunteers make maths fun for pupils and gives them insight into how it can help them in later life.’

This year, the Number Partners Challenge is financially supported by the Ernest Cook Trust.

Buddies boosting maths skills in Bournemouth

We recently launched a partnership between J.P. Morgan and King’s Park Academy in Bournemouth. Lauren Dean, Associate Principal of the school said,

‘We are thrilled to be the first school in Dorset to benefit from this excellent programme. The children have really gelled with the volunteers during their first session and tell me they can’t wait to see them again next week to play more games.’

Read more in the Bournemouth Daily Echo: Bournemouth Echo - JP Morgan NNP March 206

#iwill: Student Volunteering Week 2016

1 impassioned student volunteer + 2 pupils lacking confidence in maths x 30 minutes per week playing games = fun with maths and improved employability for both volunteers and children.

With national Student Volunteering Week approaching, National Number Partners is delighted to launch our first two schemes with university student volunteers linking University of Wolverhampton with Loxdale Primary and at Queen Mary University with Stebon Primary near our Tower Hamlets EBP HQ in East London.


We’re building on the great work that our partners Leicestershire Cares do with Loughborough University and Ablaze Bristol do with UWE in order to engage more student volunteers nationally as Number Partners in their local primary schools.

We think students make great Number Partners, bringing their own passion and reflections on their subject choices and career choices to the table, thereby raising primary school pupils’ aspirations towards higher education and beyond.

#wewill build a world where all children have the confidence to say ‘I love maths!’

Get in touch at to get your university involved.



10 years of Number Partners in Leicestershire

Happy 10th birthday to Number Partners in Leicestershire!

Ravenhurst Primary Pupils with volunteers from Everards Brewery

Run by the business charity Leicestershire Cares in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Number Partners has seen hundreds of volunteers from dozens of businesses volunteer with thousands of young pupils, helping boost their confidence with numeracy through playing maths games.

To mark the milestone of its first decade, a birthday cake was made for the lunchtime maths games session at Ravenhurst Primary in Braunstone Town with volunteers from Everards Brewery, one of the first firms to sign up to Number Partners back in 2006.

Says one pupil: “It’s fun. You learn to see the patterns in numbers, and at a time in the future you will know what to do.”

Read more:

The real impact of “one size fits all” on education

In light of Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw’s recent critique of the ‘one size fits all’ education system that fails to prepare young people for the world of work, Becky Feetham, Senior Project Manager at Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership who has been managing and observing Number Partners for several years, asks whether primary maths education is really preparing pupils for life.

Read her thoughts: