Nearly 40 primary schools across Hackney have signed up to a free education programme designed to teach children about the census and improve their skills in subjects such as maths and geography.
Let’s Count! has been developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the run-up to the next census in 2021.
It is initially being made available exclusively to primary schools in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Ceredigion and Carlisle, which have all been chosen to take part in a census rehearsal this autumn.
Thirty-seven local primaries have so far put their names down, including Daubeney, Betty Layward, St Monica’s, De Beauvoir and Parkwood.
The 2019 rehearsal is a chance for the ONS to test systems, services and processes to make sure that the next census runs as smoothly as possible.
The national headcount takes place every ten years and gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales.
The information it provides helps the government and local authorities decide how to plan and fund services such as schools, hospitals and roads.
Let’s Count! is open to all primary schools in Hackney, and the ONS is encouraging those which have not yet signed up to register as soon as possible for their resource pack.
This contains classroom display materials, stickers, certificates, take-home activities and 12 lesson plans covering key areas of the curriculum, tailored for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2), as well as specific resources for Year Six.
The lesson plans are centred on the ‘Counter Cats’ – cartoon moggies which help with the learning process.
Participating schools can enter into a competition which could see them win £1,000 worth of equipment.
Pupils will count things during a 20-minute walk through their local areas, and the information they gather will be used to develop maps and displays, the best of which will take home the prize.
Paul Thomas, headteacher of Parkwood Primary School in Finsbury Park, said: “I heard about Let’s Count! through a local authority presentation and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for pupils to learn and apply their maths skills in a real-life context so we’d really encourage other schools to sign up.
“We can’t wait to run a range of lessons across the school and take part in Let’s Count! day.”
Pete Benton, director of census operations, said: “The census is a great teaching tool.
“Let’s Count! provides an engaging way into key topics like maths and geography – while helping build awareness and understanding of the census.
“We’ve worked with teachers to develop content that works for them and are excited to see how it works for the schools in Hackney.”
Interested schools can find out more and sign up at letscount.org.uk