Making Maths accessible at RNC

Photo shows a close up of Hayden sitting in front of desk, he has a large print mock paper in front of him and a pen where he is filling in the answers.]

Friday 5 February 2016 has been labelled, by NSPCC, as Number Day. It’s all about creating ways to get young people engaged in Maths. At RNC (Royal National College for the Blind), we offer Maths to suit different levels and abilities from entry level to GCSE to A Level, making the materials accessible in the preferred medium of each student. RNC’s resident Maths Teacher Kate Stevenson says “I love being able to work so closely with the students at RNC getting them involved with the practical elements, I prefer this to teaching big classes as I really get to know the students and their individual needs.”


18 year old Ieuan Sparey from Presteigne in Wales says “Kate’s sessions are designed really well, half the session is group work and it highlights what each person’s strengths or weaknesses are and we work on these for the second half of the lesson, individually. Kate knows all of the different formats well and I feel as if she really understands me.” There will rarely be more than four students per class, which enables the teaching to be tailored to the individual students, 19 year old Hayden Kallay from Wolverhampton agrees, “Kate is good at explaining things in a way that I can understand, smaller classes mean that we can work on things ourselves and then Kate is there whenever we need support. She works at a pace which is comfortable for me.”


Director of Learning and Curriculum, Nicola Smith makes the point “Maths and numeracy, is one of those areas which people struggle with generally, especially our students who have visual impairment and may have not been able to access materials in the past. However, it is something that almost all employers will ask for as a basic skill so it’s important for our students to develop a functional understanding as the bare minimum if they are to be employed in the future.”


Kate is sitting on the left, beside Tiri, as they’re both at a class room desk in the Maths room. Each of them has a thick felt tip pen in their hands at Kate has just written down and equation and the two of them are discussing it

Kate with A Level Maths student, Tiri

A Level Maths student Tiri Hughes, 17 from Devon, has her sights set on university after leaving RNC and loves identifying and solving complex problems, “This is my area of thinking and I like things to be in order.” Kate admits that she learns from her students, too “Tiri is so passionate about Maths and is always asking questions to enhance her learning, she actually challenges me and makes me feel alive; this is why I got into teaching in the first place.”



Picture is zoomed in to a diagram of the RNC bistro (dining room), which is a piece of paper pinned onto a cork board. On the paper there are elastic bands making a rectangular shape, secured by pins and a wax stick which is the door. A black and yellow ruler is to the side of the diagram. The tactile diagram is 50 times smaller than the actual bistro

Tactile diagram of the bistro – 50 times smaller than the actual bistro

Kate ensures that her lessons are practical but wants her students to have fun with Maths, ensuring that everyone is included in the lesson by accessing the materials in their preferred format “I have amazing volunteers who help me with this, all the students have different preferences so may prefer braille, bold, bright contrasting  colours, tactile diagrams etc. or they may use accessibility software on the computer,  it’s whatever way the student finds easiest to understand.” In the functional groups, they are working on making diagrams of the bistro, Kate adds “The students eat in there every day so it’s a relatable concept for them.”


Find out more about studying Maths at RNC or view our range of courses – if you have any further questions please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621.


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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