• About the company

    Brombacher & Associates is a consultancy in the field of mathematics education, founded in 2003 by Aarnout Brombacher, a mathematics teacher and leader in the South African mathematics education community. Aarnout Brombacher is the founder and head of Brombacher & Associates, and was the former head of the Mathematics Department at Westerford High School and a Past-President of AMESA. In 1996 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and read for a Masters degree in Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia in the USA.

    The work of Brombacher & Associates is focused in three main areas: teacher training, materials development and research.

    Our clients include trusts and foundations; public and private schools; a range of provincial education departments as well as the national education department; listed companies; international organisations and private individuals.

  • Aarnout Brombacher

    Summary of Professional Experience
    Aarnout Brombacher is a mathematics educator and curriculum development specialist who’s more than 30-year career includes secondary classroom teaching and over a decade and a half of work as an education consultant in the areas of teacher training; curriculum and materials development; and research with focus on early grade mathematics teaching and learning. He has played a leading role in curriculum development in South Africa, where he was also President of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) and chaired both a Ministerial Committee and Ministerial Inquiry for the Minister of Education in South Africa. As a consultant to RTI he has been involved in Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRAs) in several countries, including Tanzania, Ghana, Iraq and Jordan; and has led the development and application of Early Grade Math Assessments (EGMAs) in more than eight countries. In many of these studies, he has also led the policy dialogue and benchmark development activities with the ministries of education in those countries—in particular in Jordan, Iraq, Tanzania, and Ghana.

    In 2003 Mr. Brombacher founded and continues to lead Brombacher and Associates a South African based company involved in teacher training; curriculum and materials development; and research in mathematics education. The company well highly regarded as a thought leader in mathematics education in South Africa, working both independently and as a provider of materials and curriculum, support to the local and national government.

    Mr Brombacher is a shareholder and director of JumpCo Digital, a leader in the field of digital education. From providing interactive digital learning materials, to conducting digitally administered assessments, and developing a highly regarded Learner Management Systems (LMS), JumpCo Digital is a leader in the field of e-education in South Africa.

    From 2011 till 2018 he was also employed on a contract basis as a Senior Research Analyst with RTI International. As a Senior Research Analyst with RTI International Mr. Brombacher has led much of RTI’s mathematics-focused assessment and intervention work. This involves interacting with the various role players, including ministries of education, USAID, UKAID, Global Affairs Canada, other donors, subcontractors, and consultants. He has also done much to improve the efficiency with which some of the technical aspects of projects are executed, in particular using appropriate technologies.
    Mr. Brombacher is regularly invited to present at conferences both in South Africa and internationally. In addition to Jordan, Mr. Brombacher’s relevant in-country mathematics experience includes Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Egypt, Iraq, Malawi, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Africa.

    As founder and head of Brombacher and Associates, Mr. Brombacher leads the activities of that organisation which currently includes delivering classroom based teacher training activities, providing support to the growing community of Number Sense Mathematics Programme users and the development a mathematics textbook series. The Number Sense Mathematics Programme was developed by Brombacher and Associates to provide independent written activities for children. The programme is used across an increasingly wide range of schools in South Africa. Since launching the Number Sense Mathematics Programme in 2011, the programme has sold more than 2mil copies of the workbooks.

    Brombacher & Associates is a consultancy in the field of Mathematics Education, founded in 2003 by Aarnout Brombacher. Brombacher & Associates’ work is focused in three main areas: teacher training, materials development and research. The Consultancy’s clients include trusts and foundations; public and private schools; a range of provincial education departments as well as the national education department; listed companies; international organisations and private individuals. Brombacher and Associates is currently involved in a range of exciting projects that include: providing mathematics teaching coaching to early grade teachers in 13 schools in low socio-economic environments this project impacts 5,000 children; developing a range of diagnostic tools used to support teachers in understanding the developmental states of their students to provide effective remedial support; expanding the Number Sense Mathematics Programme to provide a comprehensive mathematics program from Grades 1 to 7; and developing a digitally based learning programme for high schools.

    Between 2012 and 2014 Mr. Brombacher (working for RTI International) led a pilot early grade reading and mathematics intervention study in Jordan. Working closely with the USAID and the Jordanian Ministry of Education, Mr. Brombacher led the team that designed and oversaw the development of Ministry-created supplementary materials tailored specifically to address the gaps identified in the National Early Grade Survey conducted in 2012. He and his team were also responsible for training and supervising the trainers responsible for teacher training on this project, including innovations involving mobile phone technology to monitor implementation progress. The results of the pilot intervention study show that the percentage of children reading with comprehension in the treatment school increased from 14 to 24 percent and the percentage of non/beginning readers decreased from 25 to 19 percent after only one year of the intervention. In mathematics, the number of children achieving more than 80 percent on both of the two conceptual Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) tasks (addition and subtraction L2 and missing number) increased from 13 to 27 percent. Following on from the intervention study, Mr Brombacher has also led the research team in developing a remedial reading and mathematics programme for Grades 1 to 3. The programme used two stages of diagnostic assessments to determine students’ developmental state and then provided support materials to assist teachers address gaps identified by the diagnostic tools. The results of this pilot research demonstrated significant impact on the performance of participating students.

    From January 2015 till November 2018 Mr. Brombacher was the Senior Reading and Mathematics Specialist on the USAID & UKAID/Jordan Reading and Mathematics Project (RAMP) a five year ($55mil) project designed to take the activities of the intervention study (described in the previous paragraph) to scale in Jordan. In 2017 Mr. Brombacher led the midline study (involving EGRA, EGMA and a range of Snapshot of School Management Effectiveness [SSME]) instruments for the RAMP Initiative. The study demonstrated a statistically significant impact of the RAMP project on both reading and mathematics performance among Grade 2 and Grade 3 students in the Kingdom.

    MA (Fulbright Scholar), Mathematics Education, University of Georgia, Athens, USA, 1997
    B.Sc., Mathematics and Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand, 1985
    HDE, Mathematics and Physical Science, University of Cape Town (UCT), 1985

    Selected Professional Experience

    Team Leader of the Strengthening the teaching of primary school mathematics project in Malawi (2020 ongoing). Aarnout Brombacher has been appointed as the Team Leader of this £19mil. five-year DfID funded intervention project, based on the recommendations of the scoping study led by Mr Brombacher. Mr Brombacher will lead the curriculum revision, teaching and learning materials development and in-service training of the more than 40 000 Standard 1 to 4 teachers.

    Research to investigate low learning achievement in early grade numeracy (Standards 1 to 4) in Malawi (2018-2019). As the research team leader, Aarnout Brombacher led this scoping research activity commissioned by DfID. The objective of the research was to identify the key bottlenecks to achievement in numeracy. The findings of the research have guided DfID in developing a multi-year numeracy intervention project on which Mr. Brombacher is the Team Leader.

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (2017 to 2018 and 2020 to 2022). As Content Lead for the international Mathematics Expert Group (MEG) Aarnout Brombacher coordinated the work of the MEG in developing the PISA 2021 Mathematics Framework. Based on the effective contribution that he made to the development of the PISA 2021 Mathematics Framework, Mr Brombacher has been invited to facilitate the work of the Science Expert Group (SEG) appointed to develop the PISA 2024 Science Framework. His role includes motivating the recommendations of the expert groups to the PISA Governing Body (PGB).

    USAID-funded and RTI-managed National Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Initiative (RAMP) in Jordan (2012 to 2018). As Senior Reading and Mathematics Specialist Aarnout Brombacher is the technical lead on the initiative responsible for all materials development, in-service teacher training and oversight of the M&E component. The project involves 2,500 schools, 13,000 teachers and 460,000 children in Jordan.
    Shikaya (2014 to date). Manages and presents classroom support projects for Foundation Phase teachers in the Western and Eastern Cape of South Africa. The project involves 12 schools, six project workers and 131 teachers. The focus of this work is using in-class coaching to support and mentor teachers in adapting more effective early grade teaching and learning pedagogies.

    NumberSense Mathematics Programme (2010 to date). Lead developer of the series that provides independent written activities for children. Coordinates the support activities for schools and others using the books. More than 2mil workbooks have been sold to date. Since its inception the programme has expanded to provide a comprehensive mathematics teaching and learning solution for the primary school years, and is currently being expanded to include the high school phase. The Programme has an active User Group of more than 5 000 teachers that hosts an annual User Group Conference.
    COUNT/MTN Initiative (2009 to 2013). Provides project management support to a project in deep-rural schools. The project targets primary school teachers in five schools per province in each of six different provinces.

    Western Cape Education Department (WCED) at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI) (2003 to 2010). Managed project and presented in-service training for more than 1,150 teachers participating in courses on Intermediate Phase mathematics, Foundation Phase numeracy, and Senior Phase mathematics.

    Bitou 10 Foundation programme (2004 to 2009). Managed and presented the mathematics component. The programme operated in 10 schools in the Bitou Municipality and the mathematics component involved teacher training and regular in-class support to Foundation, Intermediate, and Senior Phase numeracy/mathematics teachers.

    National Department of Education (DoE) (2006 to 2008). Developed and presented national training programme for Further Education and Training (FET) college lecturers on the NC(V) Mathematical Literacy Curriculum for approximately 200 lecturers per year: L1 in 2006, L2 in 2007 and L3 in 2008.

    Universities, schools and education departments in the following provinces: Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Western Cape (2000 to 2012). Facilitated numerous workshops on the interpretation of the National Curriculum Statement (Further Education and Training, FET) Mathematical Literacy National Curriculum Statement (Mathematics) (2000 to 2002). Member and occasional chair of the writing team for the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) (GET) (Mathematics) including: Subject Statement and Subject Assessment Guidelines.

    Trends in Mathematics and Sciences Study (TIMSS) (2001 to 2004). Served on the International Expert and International Item Review Panel for the mathematics component of the TIMSS study. This work included, in particular, contributing to the development of the assessment guidelines (curriculum) and item selection process.

    Westerford High School (Cape Town) (1986 to 2002). Taught high school mathematics to Grades 8 to 12. Was head of the Mathematics Department from 1990 till 2002.

  • The team

    A dedicated team of professionals committed to developing the resources and providing the support to shifting the way we teach, learn, and use school level mathematics in order to prepare South African youth with the mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills needed to participate effectively in study and career opportunities and contribute to the welfare of their families, communities and country.

  • About our brands

    NumberSense Mathematics Programme
    The NumberSense Mathematics Programme has been created to support children’s development of a robust sense of number and deep understanding of mathematics. The programme is responsive to the developmental needs of children, is informed by current research on how children learn mathematics and provides a comprehensive mathematics solution.

    MathsSense Mathematics Programme
    The MathsSense Mathematics Programme is an extension of the NumberSense Mathematics Programme. MathsSense offers a digital mathematics programme for Grades 8 – 12 (in development).

    The Construction Kit and the Visualisation Kit provide fun-filled ways to learn about geometry.

    Detail found here
  • Testimonials

    Workshop feedback:

    “By writing this tiny note I want to express gratitude for the helping hand that the NumberSense Mathematics Programme has been for me and my school. There are few training sessions where I take home loads of refreshment, new ideas, practical guidance and critical thinking- the workshops that I had opportunity to attend from NumberSense, are one of those. Your programme really makes a huge difference in the special needs of the learners in my class.”

    “Thank you so much for the wonderful course today, I learned a great deal and enjoyed connecting with other teachers.”

    “Thanks for another great workshop at the aquarium. We can’t wait to get started on the program.”

    Materials Development feedback:

    “Our boys have been using the workbooks for 3 years and although they are flying through them, they also challenge the boys who find the CAPS curriculum too easy. We have also recently been told that the Grade 8 mathematics average at Selborne College has improved by nearly 15% and we are in the process of putting all these statistics together along with the Conquesta Olympiad and ANA results; we are confident that we are going to find that we have had a steady increase in overall results. We are very excited about how the boys are challenged by the NumberSense Mathematics Programme because we feel that the new curriculum does not do so. The weaker boys are not as advanced but their attitude towards mathematics has changed in the following ways: They complete a page a day, their mental arithmetic has improved, and they are not nervous when approaching word problems.

    We are planning to hold a parent-child maths challenge because we want to show the parents what their children are capable of. This will cover the basic concepts taught in the NumberSense Workbooks and will be in the form of a race with a few family maths ideas thrown in. We are really excited about the progress that has been made thanks to the NumberSense Mathematics Programme.”

    Training and school-based support feedback: 

    “For many years, our school has struggled to improve the quality of the teaching of mathematics and raise the level of mathematics proficiency throughout our school. The major challenge for our teachers has been the large numbers of learners in our classes. The NumberSense Mathematics Programme was introduced to our school earlier this year by Brombacher and Associates, through the mediation of Shikaya. It has been the best intervention implemented at our school for a number of years. Small-group teaching was re-introduced and the benefits were immediately visible. All the learners in the class were kept busy; whilst one group of learners were on the mat, the other learners carried on with activities in their NumberSense Workbooks. The teachers were all excited about the introduction of the NumberSense Mathematics Programme and a remarkable improvement in mathematical literacy has been achieved: Learners in Grade 1 have extended their numeracy capabilities and all the learners’ ability to solve problems has improved. The Grade 2 and 3 teachers are excited because at the start of each year they can simply proceed with the activities in the NumberSense Workbooks as the learners now have the ability to work independently. The improvement in mathematics teaching has led to some of our learners receiving awards for mental mathematics, reading and spelling at a recent East London District competition run by the Department of Education. We believe the confidence that the learners have acquired in mathematics assists them in the other learning areas too.”