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Mathematics Specialist Teachers – Championing Mathematics in our Primary Schools. Stephanie Suter , Primary National Strategy. Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools. Recommendation 3: There should be at least

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Mathematics Specialist Teachers – Championing Mathematics in our Primary Schools

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Mathematics specialist teachers championing mathematics in our primary schools

Mathematics Specialist Teachers – Championing Mathematics in our Primary Schools

Stephanie Suter, Primary National Strategy

Independent review of mathematics teaching in early years settings and primary schools

Independent Review of Mathematics Teachingin Early Years Settings and Primary Schools

Recommendation 3: There should be at least

one Mathematics Specialist in each primary

school, in post within 10 years, with deep

mathematical subject and pedagogical

knowledge, making appropriate

arrangements for small and rural schools.

Mathematics specialist pathfinder programme

Mathematics Specialist Pathfinder Programme

Structure of the Pathfinder Programme:

Local half-day, half-termly meetings delivered by LA consultants

HEI face-to-face contact (Easter School)

The three key themes (subject knowledge, pedagogy and working with colleagues) developed throughout all LA consultant and HEI-led sessions

In-school activities set and agreed after each local meeting

Use of NCETM self-evaluation tools

Head teacher support of work of teacher in the school

Half-day visit to schools by the LA Lead Consultant to mentor and coach teachers

Local mathematics networks established through half-day local meetings

Professional Learning Log kept by teachers

Pathfinder programme lessons learned

Pathfinder Programme - lessons learned

Local meetings maintained momentum of the programme, allowed teachers to collaborate in a small trusted group, to share practice, deepen understanding, review impact of and plan in-school activities.

Small groups for local meetings ensured all participants could contribute with confidence.

Engagement throughout the Easter School was very good, two-and-a half days judged long enough to sustain necessary level of engagement.

Half-day school visits provided opportunity for personalised support, facilitated in-school tasks helping to ensure continued engagement of head and senior leadership team.

Pathfinder programme lessons learned1

Pathfinder Programme – lessons learned

Success of programme relies on ensuring whole-school focus is well understood and implemented; school rather than the individual teacher participates in the programme.

Ongoing engagement of head teacher and recognition that this is a school improvement programme with a mathematics focus are both key.

Most committed teachers developed their own subject knowledge enthusiastically. They saw the programme as a catalyst that helped them refocus their own professional development in mathematics and reinvigorated their personal learning.

Aims of the mathematics specialist teacher programme

Aims of the Mathematics Specialist Teacher programme

Provide each potential Mathematics Specialist teacher with a Masters-level programme of training and professional support that is firmly based in improving classroom practice and provides them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to strengthen the learning and teaching of mathematics for all pupils in their school.

Build additional mathematics capacity across the system so that primary schools have a mathematics champion or access to a mathematics champion who can be engaged in school improvement activities that will strengthen the quality of mathematics provision, narrow the gaps in attainment that currently exist by raising expectations in mathematics for all pupils.

The programme

The Programme

National school improvement programme with a mathematics focus

Funded by DCSF

Partnership between school, LA and HEI

Part-time over two years

Five days HEI face-to-face contact

Six locally run half-day meetings

In-school activity

Self-supported study


60 CAT points

First cohort begins in January 2010 – target to recruit nearly 1800 teachers


The programme1

The Programme

Focus of programme on:

Deepening subject knowledge

Developing pedagogy

Working with colleagues

Covers progression EYFS to early KS3

Relates theory to practice

In-school focused work and personal analysis

Builds skills of coaching and mentoring colleagues

Expected outcomes

Expected outcomes

Support senior management team, informing and implementing school’s development plan, CPD provision

Work alongside staff to identify their mathematical and professional needs, provide support and advice on CPD opportunities

In-school support through coaching and lesson study that responds to and is integral to the school improvement plan to raise the quality of teaching and learning in mathematics

Champion mathematics in the school and generate enthusiasm for learning the subject among children and their parents/carers

Help with the mentoring of NQTs, ITT students on placement and teaching assistants within the school

Discussion questions

Discussion questions

As this is a school improvement programme with a mathematics focus:

How should the Mathematics Specialist Teacher best be deployed by the school to take a lead in school improvement in mathematics?

What key features need to be in place in the schools to ensure that the impetus for improving mathematics through the Mathematics Specialist Teacher programme is sustained and impacts on teaching and learning?

Longer term vision

Longer-term vision

The longer-term vision is that this group of skilled teachers champion the cause of mathematics in a local context, making the subject more attractive to children, colleagues and parents and that these local hubs of influence lead to improvements nationally with positive attitudes, high expectations and world-class mathematics education and high standards for all. This is in line with ambitions set out in the Schools White Paper: Your child, your schools, our future.

Discussion questions1

Discussion questions

How do we make mathematics more attractive in primary schools and develop a positive culture based on ‘I can’ rather than ‘I cannot’?

How can Mathematics Specialist Teachers engage in such systemic change as that outlined in the longer-term vision?

What needs to be in place in the system to sustain improvements in mathematics in schools beyond the training programme?

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