I DON’T know about you but I loved my maths lessons at primary school.

My extremely elderly teacher was a former fighter pilot, who used to use different funny hats, for instance bowler and cowboy hats with exaggerated accents to teach us our times tables. I will never forget him reciting the eight times table with his “Australian hat” with the funny corks bobbing around his face.

What I am trying to say, is that maths can be fun and we at the NSPCC have fully embraced this idea.

In February, primary schools – including those around Yorkshire – will be throwing themselves into all things maths as part of the special UK-wide fundraising day, Number Day, in aid of the NSPCC.

On Friday, February 7, schools can take part using a range of curriculum-based activities, all free and provided by the charity, to liven up their lessons including Who wants to be a Mathionaire, Number Hunt or Wish Upon a Star. Number Day is a fantastic way to engage children with numbers and make maths more meaningful, all whilst raising money for the NSPCC.

Since it launched 20 years ago, an incredible 3,500 schools have taken part in fun activities for the NSPCC’s maths-inspired Number Day and raised nearly £2 million in the process for the charity.

One Yorkshire school which has signed up for the second year running is Beech Primary in Kirklees. Fiona Claxton, who is the school’s maths lead, said: “Beech thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Number Day last year for the first time and we can’t wait to take part again to help develop the profile of maths in our school whilst raising money for such a worthwhile cause.

“Planning is well underway and we have lots of exciting maths activities planned which are linked to our whole-school trip to Chester Zoo the following week. Children and staff will be dressing up as their favourite number or something that can be counted and there will be a raffle with some fantastic maths prizes to be won.”

Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? I can’t thank the staff and pupils at Beech Primary enough for their support and it sounds like it is going to be a really fun educational day.

Money collected over the years from this special fundraising day has been used to support and protect children through services such as Childline and ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’, a programme which helps children understand the signs of abuse and neglect and who to talk to if they are worried about anything. It is an essential service, borne out again this week when it was revealed that one in five children have suffered abuse.

Many survivors of abuse have told us they didn’t know what was happening to them was wrong, or they didn’t know how to express themselves.

We want children to have the confidence to speak up sooner, to know they will be listened to and that abuse and neglect is never their fault.

Amazingly in the last academic year alone, our dedicated volunteers visited 593 Yorkshire & Humber primary schools, speaking to 131,425 pupils.

With the help of our Speech Bubble Mascot, Buddy, the volunteers run age appropriate assemblies asking children to remember that if anything ever upsets them or they are worried for themselves or their friends, then to tell a trusted adult.

If they can’t find a trusted adult then Childline is ready and available so they always have someone to speak to. Before rounding it all up with a resounding shout from the children, blasting the ears with: “We all have a right to stay safe.”

With the money raised from Number Day we can hopefully reach even more children. I have been lucky enough to see some of these special ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ assemblies in action and the children are so passionate about caring for their peers that many schools take the decision to fundraise for us all year round and not just on Number Day.

They organise for example special sports days, bake sales, dressing up days and one school even raised over £7,000 from a spelling competition!

It is truly remarkable that primary school children put so much effort and enthusiasm to help other young children.

There is still time to get involved and it would be amazing if even more schools will join us this year to celebrate 20 years of Number Day and help us be there for even more children.

Visit nspcc.org.uk/numberday2020 to find out how you can get involved.