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Key findings of mathematics inspections 2005-06. Jane Jones HMI JMC meeting: 5 June 2007. 5 June 2007 Date. Evidence and reporting. The mathematics contribution to HMCI’s annual report in 2005-06 drew on:

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Key findings of mathematics inspections 2005-06

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Key findings of mathematics inspections 2005-06

Jane Jones HMI

JMC meeting: 5 June 2007

5 June 2007


Evidence and reporting

  • The mathematics contribution to HMCI’s annual report in 2005-06 drew on:

    • About 35 primary and 35 secondary visits (with a special focus on using and applying mathematics)

    • the report ‘Evaluating mathematics provision for 14-19 year olds’

    • visits to schools to look at the impact of the National Strategies

  • The 2005-06 annual report was written under the ‘Every Child Matters’ headings.

Primary mathematics inspection findings: strengths of better practice (2005-06)

  • well-planned and resourced lessons

  • high expectations of behaviour and work-rate  positive attitudes to learning mathematics and confidence

  • subject leaders who support and guide colleagues well

  • teachers welcome and benefit from CPD

  • some good use of assessment, eg analysis of test papers  curriculum planning and grouping arrangements; also systems for recording pupils’ progress

  • improving focus on solving real-life problems and pupils explaining methods, but not the thinking behind them

Primary mathematics inspection findings: weaknesses/issues (2005-06)

  • teachers not ensuring all pupils participate  checking of understanding not an ongoing process  links to weak subject knowledge; assessment remains a weaker feature of teaching

  • use of IWBs improving but pupils lack opportunities to use them interactively; limited ICT otherwise

  • overuse of worksheets dominates some pupils’ experience and reflects emphasis on skills rather than understanding

  • cross-curricular numeracy links often missed

  • informal mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation mean inconsistencies in practice are not identified and addressed (but green shoots of improvement in 2006-07).

Using and applying mathematics (UAM): strengths of better practice - primary

  • planning of activities to support UAM particularly in reasoning and in communicating ideas and solutions

  • practical approaches particularly in KS1 and FS

  • lots of problems set in real-life contexts and pupils choosing methods of solution

  • increased emphasis on pupils explaining their thinking, though not always why particular approach adopted

  • occasional themed days/focused activities providing rich opportunities to solve complex or unusual problems, sometimes in teams.

Weaknesses/barriers in UAM - primary

  • planning and assessment systems that pay little attention to UAM; too little guidance for staff

  • a dominance of worksheets  over-emphasis of skills at expense of developing understanding and reasoning

  • a lack of opportunity to communicate orally; pupils are not talking enough about mathematics!

  • too few connections made with other subjects

  • insufficient challenge for the most able pupils.

Secondary mathematics inspection findings: strengths of better practice (2005-06) – (1)

  • Pupils’ confidence and independence developed well when teaching is good; mathematically equipped for next stage.

  • Established strengths in teaching, particularly at KS3, include questioning and varied teaching and learning styles.

  • AfL higher profile; also improving use of interactive whiteboards to enliven teaching.

  • Exceptionally, practical and investigative approaches woven through schemes of work with guidance for teachers, coupled with expectation that all pupils will experience them.

Secondary mathematics inspection findings: strengths of better practice (2005-06) – (2)

  • Subject leadership that has accurate knowledge of the strengths and areas for development through robust management practices. Signs of influential leadership include shared vision, reflected in departmental documentation and collaborative approaches to CPD.

  • Academic guidance ensuring pupils know their targets, how well they are progressing, and what to do to improve, set in context of longer-term mathematical progression.

Secondary mathematics inspection findings: weaknesses/issues (2005-06)

  • Long-running weaknesses include: narrow range of T&L styles (especially too much teacher talk/demonstration and pupils passively emulating); focus on skills at expense of understanding and building concepts; use of assessment

  • Issues of increasing concern include: impact of weak or under-exploited subject knowledge, and dependence on booster/ revision classes.

  • Inadequate SoW and uncritical approach to use of published texts. Lack of secure development of deep understanding and an appreciation of conceptual interrelationships.

  • An unrealistic or unquestioning view of the quality of provision, sometimes despite mismatch with outcomes. Lack of monitoring and evaluation. Good ideas not permeating work of department.

  • Areas of inequality: ICT as an aid for teaching and learning, and lack of practical activities and investigative approaches.

Using and applying mathematics (UAM): strengths of better practice - secondary

  • Pupils enjoy practical and investigative work and solving problems in collaboration with others. They are not afraid of ‘having a go’ and discussing their thinking.

  • Good schemes of work identify opportunities systematically for developing pupils’ skills in UAM

  • Subject leaders promote of an investigative approach, supported by the sharing of ideas and resources.

  • Guidance provided for staff, and for pupils in some schools, on progression in UAM. Records of pupils’ attainment and progress are kept and monitored.

Weaknesses/barriers in UAM - secondary

  • Pupils lack opportunities to discuss their learning in mathematics  impedes their powers of reasoning.

  • Pupils bored by practising techniques modelled by the teacher. Accumulate skills but do not make important conceptual connections and struggle to apply mathematics in new or unusual contexts.

  • Schemes of work that do not identify opportunities for developing pupils’ skills in UAM or, where such opportunities exist, a lack of monitoring to ensure all pupils receive them.

  • Absence of assessment records in UAM including KS3 TA

  • Low profile given to UAM - staff left to own devices.

HMCI’s annual report and reporting in mathematics

  • 2005-06: focus on the ‘Every Child Matters’ outcomes

  • 2006-07: likely to use themes such as ‘living in the 21st century’

  • 2006-07 programme of 90 mathematics inspections have a special focus on pupils’ enjoyment and understanding

  • Mathematics ‘long report’ – based on evidence from the last three years of mathematics inspection evidence – likely to be published in December 2007

  • 14-19 mathematics report published May 2006

  • Other reports sometimes mention mathematics – eg Foundation Stage report

Questions for JMC members

  • The 2004-05 annual report was the last report to contain separate subject reports for each phase.

    • Did you read all/part of them?

    • Did you make use of them? If so how?

  • What about the 2005-06 annual report?

    • Views?

    • Suggestions?

Key findings of mathematics inspections 2005-06

Jane Jones HMI

JMC meeting: 5 June 2007

5 June 2007


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