There are a number of changes in the air, the changes to the way Maths will be assessed, the changes to the GCSE Maths content and changes that will affect KS2 and KS3.
I have been into a number of primary and secondary schools over the last year, and talked to the Maths leads and Maths departments about a number of emerging issues. Some of the issues are particular to that setting, some are fairly straightforward to answer.
I’ve been compiling the questions that are general and difficult to answer over the last year and I took 9 of them to the National Mathematics Conference for Primary and Secondary Teachers in Kettering.
In the opening remarks Mark McCourt introduced Kettering as being both geographically central and the most average town in the country. But that is perhaps a little mean.
There were Maths cakes on display and variety of seminars and workshops.
But in our workshop teachers from a variety of schools considered:
First we took the questions and arranged them in a diamond 9, with the most significant at the top and the least significant at the bottom and this is what we thought…
There needs to be some qualification here though, some of the questions were considered to be similar in terms of either the issue or the solutions, so they were scored less highly as the answers to them were already considered. It was interesting that although many of the participants had considered these questions over the last few months, many had deliberately chosen not to do anything about it. Either because there were other more pressing business to attend to, or because they still felt that there was no certainty that these ghosts of education future would come to be.
Having identified the key questions we set our minds to finding solutions to them.
And this is an edited highlight of those solutions… our first attempt at answering the 3 most important to schools and colleges.
They are of course not an exhaustive or cohesive set of solutions and in some cases they are mutually exclusive.
I asked one of my colleagues what she was going to do about the questions raised in this blog, and she said ‘well, I’ve tried nothing, and now I’m all out of ideas…’
So the take home message for me was that there is a lot of considering to do out there, and some schools are getting 4 hours a week for their KS3 Maths, and some are getting half that, and it would be really useful to know what other teachers are considering, and how they are planning to tackle it. None of us is smarter than all of us, and so my proposal is to try and get some of that intellectual capital shared, and twitter might be just the place for it. Will you join me on twitter #mathschat on Wednesdays from 23rd July? And we’ll see if we can unpick the remaining questions, and add to these three.
Many thanks to all those who participated, both in the sharing of the questions, and also in the workshop on the 14th. Including, but not limited to Helen L’Estrange, Kieran O’Keeffe, Nadia Awan and Emma Chapman.