Each year, around 13,000 babies are born very prematurely (before 32 weeks) in England alone. This can lead to long-term effects on their development, particularly their attainment at school. One particular area that many premature children find especially difficult is maths. To help us find ways to support them in the classroom, our PRISM-2 study, is examining their maths skills in detail.
The main aims of this study are to assess any differences in maths performance between children born prematurely and those born at full term. We want to understand the causes of their difficulties and develop a programme for teachers to show them how to support premature children's learning.
The project builds on our first PRISM study, which found out that premature children’s difficulties in maths at primary school were related to their working memory and hand-eye coordination. We're now looking at whether these skills are important for maths in secondary school and how premature children’s maths skills develop over the primary and secondary school years.
The project involves a researcher visiting each child at school for a day and asking them to take part in number of different activities that assess academic attainment, maths skills, working memory, attention and visuo-spatial skills.
Find out more about this project.