Improving the teaching and learning of Maths in KS1 and KS2.
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Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers
Why was the project needed?
A number of schools across the area were included in a targeted School Improvement Programme, many of these schools identified Maths teaching and learning as a key priority. Many schools were aware that great teaching of maths was not reliable and consistent in their school. Much of the teaching was around procedures and skills. Our aim was to enthuse teachers about teaching maths and to give them the subject knowledge and skills needed to teach for deep understanding.
What happened and what was the impact?
This project formed part of a wide School Improvement Programme. Participating schools put forward at least one teacher to engage with this project. They attended two days of Professional Development (PD) and received two bespoke school visits each term from their PD lead. The school visits focused on creating a coherent action plan, curriculum and vision for maths teaching in the school. Lessons were watched and coaching offered.
Most schools reported significant impact. Here are some quotes from July 2021:
“ Increase in resilience is obvious”
“Children are now working more independently and we are not seeing long pages of calculations.”
“The project has supported girls’ enjoyment of maths”
“Teacher confidence has flown”
“ In year progress is good for maths, despite lockdown”
“ We are very grateful for this OA funding”
..”developed a teacher who lacked confidence into a top rate practitioner”
“Girls are now performing better in maths than boys for the first time ever”.
“ common language for maths is now used across the school”
“Maths has seen real improvement, especially in Early Years. Children are mostly 6-8 months ahead of ARE.”
Headteachers and Maths leads developed subject knowledge and clarification around a vision for maths in their school. Participating teachers gained confidence and competence in mathematical understanding. Schools worked collaboratively, learning from one another’s journey. Previous to the project, schools had rarely worked collaboratively with other schools to develop high quality lessons. This development of social and professional capital continues through the Maths Hub.
What did and didn't work?
The project was well received. We worked with schools in round one of the funding and there was significant impact. We were able to revise and refine this for a repeat project. We found the school visits very helpful in building relationships and offering bespoke support.
Conducting the support virtually proved challenging at times. It is hard to have deep, open discussion without strong relationships. There wasn’t sufficient time to develop these before lockdowns started. We had planned to incorporate “Open classrooms” in the second project. Watching high quality teaching is powerful and teachers appreciate seeing it modelled. This was not possible due to the covid restrictions.
How did you measure success?
Success was measured using feedback from participants, feedback from Headteachers, school data, pupil voice, lesson observations, book looks, level of dissemination across the school and PD lead team meetings.
Ingredients For Success
The activity was led by high quality practitioners who were non-judgmental in their approach. This was the most influential factor in the success. The PD days enabled teachers to focus for a whole day on subject knowledge in key areas. The school visits facilitated bespoke support. This growth in mathematical understanding along with a desire for maths to improve on the part of the schools, enabled change to take place. The fact that the schools could work with the maths hub this year (and beyond) means that progress is sustained.
The team all contributed to the success of the project, the PD leads, high quality administrators, the willingness of the schools to be open and responsive and the project manager. The covid-based limitations (it wasn’t sensible to meet face to face for quite a long time) was the main issue preventing progress.
How is the Project Sustainable
As schools work with the maths hub, they are able to continue developing subject knowledge and collaborative ways of working. Leadership within the maths community is being developed within the OA. A number of the schools now have teachers who deliver professional development, through the maths hub, to other schools.
What are the Long Term Impacts
The longer term impacts (already being seen) are higher quality teaching of maths, OA maths leaders being developed and improved outcomes for children. Some of the head teachers are saying that the potential negative impact of lockdowns on maths was greatly reduced because quality teaching was being developed, whether online or in classrooms.
Area Most Impacted
Next steps to do something similar yourself
Read the EEF Guidance Report on Improving Maths in the Early Years here
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