Maths Peer Mentoring in Schools

Maths peer mentoring is a low cost, highly effective maths intervention with benefits for the mentor and the mentee. An older child is trained to work 1:1 with a younger child on a set of structured activities and games which target a specific area of maths.

The benefits of the FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring Programme


The benefits include an uplift in maths scores for mentor and mentee, and improvements in self-confidence, self-esteem and oracy skills.


Teachers also report that there can be really positive changes to mindsets in mentors who witness first-hand a younger child making mistakes but then making progress through repeated practice.


Maths mentoring is a really effective way of tackling maths anxiety. A child with maths anxiety will engage in maths activities much more readily with another child particularly if the learning is based around games.



Older children in primary schools are a huge untapped resource and have so much to gain themselves from taking on a maths mentoring role.


An external evaluation of the FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring Programme shows that the mentees make really good progress in the targeted maths areas, and their confidence in all areas of maths soars. Teachers also report significant other benefits for mentees, such as improvements in self-esteem, social confidence and oracy. The mentors also benefit hugely. Becoming the “knowledgeable other” develops confidence, empathy, communication and leadership skills. In many schools children are chosen to work as mentors as a way of tackling low self-confidence.

Teachers also report that children who have taken on the mentor role improve their scores on reasoning papers because they are required to articulate mathematical thinking on a regular basis with the younger child.

The FunKey Maths mentor training programme is challenging and inspiring. Children respond so well to the responsibility and trust they are given as mentors. There are hugely positive impacts on mindset and metacognition.


We had a pupil premium review in school today and I know they were very impressed with the impact FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring is having. I honestly think it’s one of the best interventions we have!

Jane Robinson,
Brunel Field and Ashley Down, Bristol, Spring 2019

FunKey provides a very low-cost and highly effective peer-teaching intervention for KS1 children who are not meeting age-related expectations in mathematics.

Dr Marcus Witt, External Assessor,
The University of the West of England.

It’s taken a load off my workload with the lower attainers – the repetition has worked so well and they are applying it in lessons.

Sara Phillips TA in Year 2,
Ledbury Primary

M is much more focused in class, engaging accurately with tasks as a result of the 1:1 sessions.

Clare Martin, Teaching Assistant

The Year 5s have absolutely loved it.
In fact they nag me to do it.

Pamela, Teacher
Port Talbot

It’s going so so well. The Y2 teaching assistant is hugely impressed with it.

Jane Taft, Maths Lead
Credenhill Primary

leadHow does FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring work?

Our resources are designed for use by mentors aged 9+ but can also be used by teachers, teaching assistants or volunteers in school, and parents at home.

Younger mentors need a minimum of a half day of training. All the activity notes teachers need to train their mentors can be downloaded for free, or schools can buy in face to face or online training from one of the FunKey team. Contact us for more details.

The training for young mentors helps children think about the strategies and language which will motivate children, how best to encourage them and correct them sensitively. The training also explains how memory works so that young mentors understand the importance of repeating activities to embed learning.

Once trained, mentors can work with minimal supervision

You can train any number of mentors. Some schools use a small group of 6 – 10 mentors , while other schools do whole class cross-age mentoring.

Mentoring sessions should always be 1:1 and should be approx. 15 mins long. Ideally there would be three or more sessions a week. These can be timetabled flexibly. It takes approx. 6 – 8 weeks to work through a mentoring unit.

A school that wants to introduce maths peer mentoring should identify a member of staff who can lead the peer mentoring programmes. This staff member takes responsibility for training and co-ordinating the mentors (adults or children) and identifying the mentees and which units they need to work on.

We have pre-intervention tests for each of our units to help mentoring champions match children to the right unit, and post-intervention tests so that schools can measure progress.

How we support schools with Maths Peer Mentoring

We developed our maths peer mentoring programme with the help of charitable funding from Nesta’s Maths Mission. Over the last seven years, we have seen the transformational effects of maths peer mentoring on many young children and we want all schools to benefit.

We have kept the cost of running the peer mentoring programmes to a minimum. All the materials teachers need to train their mentors can be downloaded for free. The cards you need to run the units can be purchased in our shop, and cost £10 plus VAT. They are made from high quality materials which means they can be used year after year. It really is a low cost intervention. 

Schools who want to purchase training for their peer mentoring champion or for their mentors can contact us here

We want to help schools embed a sustainable peer mentoring programme and we are happy to give advice and share our experience for free. Please contact us here with any questions.

We are sure you will be delighted by the energy and enthusiasm you see in mentoring sessions. Children engage so positively with each other in a structured 1:1 setting. The positive relationships mentors build with their mentees transform children’s attitudes to maths and open the gates to progress.

I was gobsmacked how good she was. She could have been employed.

Lisa George, Deputy Head,
Port Talbot, about a Year 5 mentor

It’s given him the words and the way to be positive with someone.

Joy, Maths Lead,
Port Talbot, about a Year 5 mentor

Peer mentoring in action

Watch the peer mentoring in action, and hear about its impact.

Our Maths Peer Mentoring Units

Below you can see what each of six peer mentoring units covers. 

Unit 1: Counting to 20

Counting Cards – Age 5+

  • Counting forwards and backwards to 20
  • Reading numbers 0 – 20
  • Ordering numbers 0 – 20
  • Knowing one more or one less
  • Counting on or back from any number up to 20

Unit 2: Counting 0 – 100

Counting Cards – Age 5+

  • Counting forwards to 100 in 10s
  • Counting forwards to 100 in 1s
  • Reading numbers 0 – 100
  • Ordering numbers 0 – 100
  • Knowing one more or one less
  • Knowing ten more or ten less than a multiple of 10
  • Counting on from any number up to 100

Unit 3: Counting 100 – 0

Counting Cards – Age 6+

  • Counting backwards from 100 in 10s
  • Counting backwards from 100 in 1s
  • Reading numbers 0 – 100
  • Ordering numbers 0 – 100
  • Knowing one more or one less
  • Knowing ten more or ten less than a multiple of 10
  • Counting back from any number up to 100

Unit 4: Place Value

Counting Cards – Age 6+

  • Composing and decomposing numbers
  • Adding 10 or 1 to any 2 digit number
  • Subtracting 10 or 1 from 2 digit numbers
  • Ordering numbers

Unit 5: Doubling to 20

Doubling and Halving Cards – Age 6+

  • Subitising up to 10
  • Linking doubles to repeated addition
  • Linking doubles to the 2x table
  • Rapid recall of doubles to 20
  • Rapid recall of halves to 20

Unit 6: Learning x tables

Times Table Cards – Age 6+

For any target times table learn to 

  • Step count fluently forward and backwards
  • Recall multiplication facts
  • Recall division facts
  • Link related times table facts
  • Observe patterns within a times table

Find out more?

Contact us about a peer mentoring programme for your school

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