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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Stephanie Suter, Primary National Strategy
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
60 CAT points
First cohort begins in January 2010 – target to recruit nearly 1800 teachers
Focus of programme on:
Deepening subject knowledge
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
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
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?
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.
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?