The Problem-Solving Schools’ Charter

The NRICH team has developed this Charter to help you reflect on how you currently promote mathematical problem-solving in your school

Values and ethos

We have a shared belief that:

  • Mathematical ability is not fixed: everyone can learn and make progress
  • Problem-solving often involves taking wrong turns and making mistakes: every learner has the right to struggle and the right to enjoy success
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to become confident problem-solvers
  • Problem-solving can motivate learners to learn new mathematics, apply previous learning and make mathematical connections

Leadership and professional development

In our setting:

  • Our staff promote positive attitudes towards problem-solving
  • Time is set aside to discuss problem-solving in our meetings
  • Our displays, newsletters, website, and social media content celebrate problem-solving for all
  • Our monitoring system ensures that priority is given to problem-solving and mathematical thinking
  • We engage with printed, online and face-to-face professional development opportunities offered by subject organisations

Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment

We are committed to:

  • Regularly embedding non-standard problem-solving opportunities in our maths curriculum for all
  • Ensuring that problems, and classroom support, offer opportunities for all to experience both struggle and success
  • Allocating time to developing key problem-solving skills and positive attitudes
  • Including non-standard problems in our internal/formative assessments
  • Liaising with other subjects so that meaningful cross-curricular links can be made

Classroom culture

We aim to:

  • Create a safe environment in which learners explore, take risks, and appreciate the value of learning from their mistakes
  • Celebrate multiple approaches to solving problems and discuss the merits of the different strategies offered
  • Provide frequent opportunities for individual and collaborative problem-solving, where learners are given both thinking time, and opportunities to share ideas and insights
  • Celebrate the mathematical thinking of every learner

Problem-solving beyond the classroom/school

We encourage:

  • Learners to engage with school Maths Club(s) and high quality maths books, ideally stocked by the school library
  • Learners to take advantage of printed, online and off-site mathematical enrichment opportunities
  • Parents and carers to engage with problem-solving through family homeworks and in-school events, while recognising that not every adult has had a positive experience of maths
  • Our learners to appreciate, and learn more about, the achievements of a diverse range of mathematicians

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