I am a Professor of Education and a National Teaching Fellow. I began my teaching career as a secondary school mathematics teacher, and have also taught in pre-school, primary, special and adult education. From September 2017 to 2021, I was Visiting Professor II at the University of Trondheim (NTNU) in Norway.
My major teaching and research interests are in mathematics education, including low attainment in mathematics across the 5 to 19 age range. My writing for the mathematics classroom and for children at home has extended over thirty years, with more than 100 titles published, including for Puffin, Cambridge, Scholastic, Open University Press and Pearson, both in the UK and across the world.
I am a former foster carer and adoptive parent, and founded the Letterbox Club, for children in foster care, in Leicester in 2003. This has grown year by year, with major funding from the DCSF (now the DfE) for a national pilot in 2007-08, in partnership with BookTrust. The programme provides books, number games and other educational materials by post, to children aged 3 to 13 in five age ranges. There were over 12,000 children enrolled in the Letterbox Club across the UK in 2021.
I am currently working with two colleagues, Jenni Back and Sue Gifford, on a project to improve the teaching of fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Our previous work examined ways of encouraging teachers to use practical equipment to teach whole-number arithmetic effectively. The resulting book, 'Making Numbers', was published by Oxford University Press (2016) with accompanying materials on the Oxford Owl website. 'Making Fractions' is due to be published late in 2022.
My doctoral study examined the causes and nature of looked-after children's difficulties in mathematics, and suggested potential improvements for policy and practice. I undertook case studies of five children aged 7 to 11 with varied 'care backgrounds', exploring provision in school and the mathematics each child did at home. (University of Cambridge, 2014)
In earlier work with the Childhood Bereavement Network and Leeds Animation Workshop, I initiated two much-praised projects: â€œNot too young to grieveâ€ which provided advice about supporting young children who have been bereaved, and â€œTeenage Griefâ€.
(0) Griffiths, R., Back, J. and Gifford, S. (October 2016) Making Numbers: using manipulatives to teach arithmetic. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 112 pp.
Griffiths, R. and Craven-Griffiths, A. (October 2016) Half a Hundred Hedgehogs, Ten Fishes in the Sea, Five Friends Counting and Ten Tens and a Dragon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Stop-motion animations showing key elements of counting and early arithmetic for children aged 3 to 11 on the OxfordOwl website, with an international reach.)
Griffiths, R. (2014) Mathematics at home and at school for looked-after children: the example of Ronan, aged eight. In S. Pope (ed) Proceedings of the 8th British Congress of Mathematics Education (BCME) 2014, 159-166.
Griffiths, R. (2014) Difficulties in number experienced by children aged 7 to 11 in public care in England. PhD thesis published on line on DSpace at Cambridge: www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/247454
Griffiths, R. (2012) The Letterbox Club: an account of a postal club to raise the achievement of children aged 7 to 13 in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review. 34(6): 1101-1106.
Griffiths, R. (2008) The Family Counts. In I. Thompson (Ed), Teaching and Learning Early Number: 2nd edition, 47-58. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Griffiths, R. and Gray, J. (2008) Getting children talking; Getting children counting
These two multilingual DVDs, for parents and professionals, looked at parents' and carers' views of their children's development. The DVDs have been used extensively in the UK and in many university education departments, including in Canada, Sweden, Israel and Australia.
Number Connections series: 15 textbooks, 5 books of copymasters, and 5 teachers' books (Heinemann, 1996, 1997, 1998) and Second Edition, 2005, renamed Rapid Maths.
Griffiths, R. (1988) Maths through play. Macdonald, London
Griffiths, R. (1984) Puffin Calculator Book; (1985) Puffin Times Tables Book
I am now part-time and do not have the capacity to take on further doctoral students.
My teaching is predominantly on the Primary PGCE course in Mathematics.
Press and media
Maths education especially in the Early Years in Primary schools and with parents and carers at home. The education of children in public care especially in mathematics.