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Tables Stick

Tables Stick
15/07/2021
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Cate Fearn is the founder of Tables Stick, based in Sheffield.  Tables Stick aims to ‘empower and inspire a love of learning times tables for all children’.  Cate's experience of working in education found that many children struggle to recall and apply times tables facts when put on the spot, which can have a negative impact on confidence, self-esteem and behaviour, as well as experiencing maths anxiety and not performing to their full potential, including in the Multiplication Tables Check for Year 4 children.

Her passion to support learning led to the development of Tables Stick. The Tables Stick approach is about explicitly teaching times tables so the facts make sense for all children. It uses a strategy-based mastery approach that helps children use what they already know, as well as helping them identify the rich patterns, connections and relationships that exist in multiplication tables, helping lock the facts in long-term memory for fluent and automatic recall in tandem with deep understanding e.g. children are able to automatically recall that 9 x 6 = 54, but they also understand that if 10 x 6 is  60, 9 x 6 is 6 less than 60. Tables Stick products are easy to use for regular daily practice – with no set-up needed or impact on teacher workload. 

At the point of joining ScaleUp 360, Sheffield Innovation Programme funding had supported with the development of prototypes for the initial product concept. The ScaleUp 360 programme was able to provide funding for continued support from Design Futures at Sheffield Hallam University, who worked on the product brief to take the next steps to develop the Tables Stick Home Kit to a final design, provide print ready artwork and packaging samples.

"The Design futures team supported my first nervous steps into the world of manufacturing by paving the way for me using known, trusted, and appropriate manufacturers. This meant I was able to ‘step into’ this relationship and then build on it myself.  This had been something I had previously felt anxious about, as I had no experience of the world of manufacturing. I’m not sure I would have made this crucial step without the support of Design Futures. Because of this positive link with manufacturers, I felt confident to go ahead with paying for the manufacture of my products and packaging".

Since the production of the new-to-market Tables Stick products by a local Sheffield-based company, Anchor Magnets, they are now being used by a growing number of local primary schools and feedback has been extremely positive from teachers, pupils and parents. The Home Kits provide a crucial link between home and school learning, as well as being used as a table-top resource in school for catch-up groups and individuals.  During lockdown Cate also developed a YouTube channel that children really enjoy using to support home learning.  Her aim is to work with Primary Schools and parents in providing training and Tables Stick resources across South Yorkshire and eventually country-wide to support the effective teaching and learning of times tables for all children.

"I honestly can’t express enough gratitude for how Scale Up 360 funding has helped me. This project has meant that my vision to provide Tables Stick products to support the teaching and learning of times tables for all children could become a reality, potentially making a positive difference for children across the country. Working with the Design Futures Packaging team has been the best experience of my career and one of the most amazing parts of my life so far! The ongoing commitment, enthusiasm, skill, expertise, and patience has been incredible. I’ll be forever grateful to the whole team, thank you!"

You can follow Tables Stick on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin

 

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