Centre for Research in Mathematics Education (CRME)

CRME Projects

CRME members have substantial experience in relation to a range of research approaches and methodologies including small-scale comparative studies to large-scale design research studies.

Current projects

Counting Collections

Counting Collections is an early mathematics approach to teaching young children about number, designed to develop their connected understanding of number and quantity. This approach has been used in other countries including Australia and America, typically with older children. 

The Counting Collections programme developed at the University of Nottingham is specifically designed for young children (under 5 years). It includes professional development sessions and materials to support teachers as well as carefully selected manipulatives (objects for counting).

The Counting Collections programme aims to support children’s counting, subitising, comparison of numbers and composition of number as well as their abilities to estimate and represent number (including understanding numerals). The randomised controlled trial will establish how much Counting Collections improves children's attainment in number in the classes where it is used, compared to the classes where it is not.

Project duration: 2023-2025
Principal Investigator: Dr Cath Gripton
Research Team: Professor Geoff Wake and Professor Shaaron Ainsworth
Funding body: Education Endowment Foundation
Further information: Project website


Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM)


Student outcomes in mathematics are of increasing importance to individuals, colleges and society as successive governments seek to ensure that the UK workforce has sufficient quantitative skills for an increasingly data-driven and technology-rich future. Research shows that getting a good grade in GCSE maths significantly affects someone’s earning over their lifetime.

There is also a growing expectation that young people continue their mathematics education post-16 and the condition of funding for FE colleges requires all students who fell short of a grade 4 GCSE at 16 to retake or work towards retaking the examination. The number of GCSE mathematics resit students has therefore grown significantly in recent years yet many students have difficulties in improving their grades. 

The DfE funded the Centres for Excellence in Mathematics (CfEM) programme (2018 – 2023) to address concerns in this area. The programme established 21 Centres for Excellence, geographically spread across England. The DfE has also commissioned a Delivery Partner coordinated by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). 

The Centre for Research in Mathematics Education (CRME) had a central role in the programme, being responsible for an ambitious programme of research. The research comprised two main strands:

  • Running large-scale interventions to trial approaches to teaching mathematics
  • Establishing a model for, and working with colleges to adopt, a Whole College Approach to mathematics provision.

CRME also provided expert advice to develop handbooks and materials for the sector, and had significant input into an extensive programme of teacher professional development.  

During 2021-22 the research team undertook a large-scale randomised controlled trial of their design of a programme for Teaching for Mastery.  The outcomes of this trial suggest that the programme leads to increases in attainment as measured by marks in GCSE assessment. 

Duration of project: December 2018 - March 2023

Investigator: Andrew Noyes (Principal Investigator), Geoff Wake, Michael Adkins, Marc North, Marie Joubert, Diane Dalby
Funding body: The Department for Education
Further details: 
Project website


Centre for Research in Mathematics Education

School of Education
University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

+44 (0)115 951 4543