The NCETM Maths Podcast
Moving from primary teaching to secondary maths

Moving from primary teaching to secondary maths

April 25, 2022

A teacher explains why, and how, he's moving from a primary school to a secondary maths department 

After five years as a primary teacher, Rob Shaw realised he wanted something different. That turned out to be a job as a maths teacher in a nearby secondary school. In this podcast episode he explains how it all came about, and how he feels as the first day in his new job approaches.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Rob Shaw, Secondary maths teacher at a school in Plymouth
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director.

Useful links

Using number lines in secondary maths

Using number lines in secondary maths

April 21, 2022

Five suggested number lines for use in KS3 and KS4 maths lessons

Becky Donaldson, from the NCETM's Secondary Team suggests five different number lines for use in lessons, including one appropriate for use with students aiming at the higher GSCE grades.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Becky Donaldson, NCETM Assistant Director for Secondary Mathematics
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director.

Useful links

  • This Espresso from Cambridge Mathematics gives more examples of number lines 
  • The number lines NCETM podcast discussion with examples for KS1 teaching 
  • Checkpoint 2 from the Arithmetic procedures including fractions PowerPoint, downloadable from our Checkpoints page, has a more structured version of the fourth number line in this discussion.
  • The second Key Idea PowerPoint on this page of our Secondary Mastery Professional Development Materials is devoted entirely to double number lines (the fifth example in this discussion).  

Diagram

This is the sketch Becky and Steve referred to during their conversation. Click to enlarge. 

Image of drawing of number line examples

The PE teacher in the maths department

The PE teacher in the maths department

April 5, 2022

Simon Hemsworth, who trained as a PE teacher, is now in a role called transition teacher at an Oxfordshire secondary school, a role in which he teaches about ten lessons of KS3 maths every week. To support him in this new role, the school enrolled him on a training programme for non-specialist secondary maths teachers, run by his local Maths Hub. In this episode he discusses his experience with his head of department and the NCETM person who designed the course.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Simon Hemsworth, Transition teacher at The Henry Box School, Witney, Oxfordshire
  • Karen Moss, Head of maths at The Henry Box School, Witney, Oxfordshire
  • Nicola Trubridge, Assistant Director for Secondary at the NCETM
  • Steve McCormack, Communications Director at the NCETM

Episode chapters

  • 00:06 - Introductions
  • 04:46 - How Simon approached the sessions
  • 05:46 - The course timetable
  • 07:01 - The course content
  • 11:11 - Simon's experience
  • 12:28 - How Karen saw Simon's teaching develop
  • 18:26 - How to find information about the programme. 

Useful links

How early primary maths influences school-wide teaching

How early primary maths influences school-wide teaching

March 9, 2022

Two teachers at a school following a programme that concentrates on building firm foundations of early maths understanding explain how it has led to positive changes in the way maths is taught right up the school.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Nicky White, Maths Lead and Nursery teacher at St Bede's Catholic Primary School, Bedlington, Northumberland
  • Claire Clark, Year 1 teacher at St Bede's Catholic Primary School
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director 

Useful links

Using number lines in Key Stage 1

Using number lines in Key Stage 1

February 21, 2022

Five ways to use a number line for maths in Years 1 and 2.

The NCETM's Director for Primary Mathematics, Debbie Morgan, suggests a progression of five different number lines to help children build understanding of the relationships between numbers from 1 to 20. In the discussion, she suggest ways for teachers to draw out pupils' reasoning skills, use of language and the beginning of understanding proportion.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Debbie Morgan, NCETM Director for Primary Mathematics
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director

Useful links

The research mathematician and his A Level teacher

The research mathematician and his A Level teacher

January 24, 2022

GCSE maths teachers will recognise the profile of the disengaged 15-year-old that understands maths easily but hasn’t the motivation to put in the work for a really good grade. This student will often drop maths post-16, or if they don’t, you might lose sight of them as they go to college or join another teacher’s A level group.

If you have seen a few of these characters through your doors, you may be encouraged to hear this conversation between Douglas Coates, now a research mathematician at Université Paris Saclay, and his A level teacher, Tom Rainbow. Doug explains how maths came alive for him post-16, and what it was that inspired him. And he poses a great little maths problem (from John Mason) for you and your students to try! 

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

Episode chapters

  • 00:06 – Introduction and meet Tom
  • 03:16 – How Doug came to take A level maths and what he has done since
  • 07:23 – How differentiation brought maths alive for Doug
  • 10:30 – Doug explains his hatred of memorisation and calculating, but love of thinking, logic and solving problems
  • 11:27 – How important is ownership of the mathematical process?
  • 11:50 – Can a textbook create the conditions for proper mathematical discussion and thinking?
  • 12:30 – Tom muses about providing for students that want something more mechanistic
  • 14:19 – Use of technology vs. written techniques
  • 15:36 – Tom recounts teaching about a straight line crossing a circle
  • 20:29 – Did A level maths prepare Doug well for his degree?
  • 24:50 – Doug explains his research area – Ergodic theory
  • 27:40 – Doug’s maths problem about a bicycle (originally from John Mason and published in the book ‘Thinking Mathematically’)

Useful links

Introduction to the DfE KS3 Maths Guidance

Introduction to the DfE KS3 Maths Guidance

December 15, 2021

Mathematics Guidance: Key Stage 3 was published by the DfE in September 2021, but how much have teachers and departments managed to read and familiarise themselves with it? And how can it be used to support teaching in secondary schools? This interview explores the guidance and how it might be used, with Carol Knights who led the writing of it, and Carrie Martin, who is beginning to use it with the schools in her MAT.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Carol Knights, NCETM Director for secondary
  • Carrie Martin, Senior Network Leader of Maths, Cabot Learning Federation, SW England
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director.

Episode Chapters

  • 01:57 The structure of the guidance
  • 02:25 The introductory section
  • 03:42 The sample curriculum framework
  • 05:40 What’s in the main body of the guidance
  • 07:47 Making links to KS2
  • 09:50 Ideas for use in the classroom
  • 10:30 Using the guidance to review your KS3 curriculum
  • 12:48 How the guidance is being used in Carrie’s MAT
  • 14:25 Using the guidance without using the suggested sequencing of topics
  • 22:10 Tips for navigating the guidance
  • 23:04 How the guidance helps busy KS3 teachers know about KS2 maths.

Useful links

Information about the KS3 Guidance on the NCETM website

NCETM KS3 Mastery Professional Development Materials

NCETM exemplified Key Ideas: in PowerPoint files useful for the classroom

NCETM Checkpoints: Year 7 classroom activities to assess prior learning from KS2

Teaching maths in a special school

Teaching maths in a special school

October 20, 2021

In either a special school or a mainstream setting, no two pupils with special needs have the same abilities or difficulties. A secondary maths lead in a special school explains how she and her colleagues adapt maths teaching so that all pupils can engage and learn, and tells us about a Maths Hub Work Group which focuses on ways to teach maths to pupils with SEND.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Sophie Cocker, secondary maths lead at Ravenshall School, a special school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
  • Beth Goodliff, NCETM Communications Manager.

Episode chapters

  • 01:02 – The characteristics of the pupils at Ravenshall School and how these shape teaching
  • 01:46 – Pupils’ starting points in the maths classroom
  • 02:44 – Semi-formal classroom settings and finding ‘mathematical moments’
  • 03:26 – What a maths lesson might look like, and cross-curricular maths activities
  • 06:59 – Sophie’s experience of moving from a mainstream maths PGCE to teaching maths in a special school, and engaging with her local Maths Hub
  • 10:16 – Making elements of teaching for mastery work in a special school
  • 12:41 – The manipulatives and resources used
  • 15:04 – Training other teachers in the school to teach maths
  • 17:16 – Taking part in, and leading, a Work Group exploring maths teaching in special schools
  • 22:02 – Plans for the Work Group this year

Useful links

Embedding mastery in a primary school

Embedding mastery in a primary school

October 8, 2021

Embedding teaching for mastery in a classroom and across a primary school takes time. In this episode two teachers tell how working with their Maths Hub has gradually led to improvements in maths learning across their schools.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Ellie Kelly, Maths Lead and Y1/2 teacher at The Revel C of E Primary School, near Rugby
  • Becky O’Neill, Assistant Principal and Maths Lead at Henry Hinde Infant School, near Rugby, and also Primary Teaching for Mastery Lead with Origin Maths Hub
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director.

Useful links

Origin Maths Hub

Information about teaching for mastery on the NCETM website

Information about the Maths Hubs Network across England and all the CPD opportunities they offer.

Using Checkpoints in the Year 7 classroom

Using Checkpoints in the Year 7 classroom

October 5, 2021

The new NCETM Checkpoints resources are designed to support Year 7 teachers in formatively assessing what mathematical understanding their students have brought from primary school. Four PowerPoint decks are already published, full of activities and supported by teacher guidance. The rest will be published over the course of the year.

This podcast episode discusses Checkpoints with Becky Donaldson, one of the authors, and Steph Kirk, a teacher using them with her Year 7 classes.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Steph Kirk, Year 7 teacher and Curriculum Lead from Trinity Academy St. Edward’s in Barnsley
  • Becky Donaldson, NCETM Assistant Director for Secondary
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager

Episode chapters

  • 00:42 – What is a Checkpoint?
  • 02:50 – Steph Kirk – intro to her and her school
  • 06:25 – Becky Donaldson – intro
  • 07:52 – Steph: using Checkpoints in her classroom
  • 12:30 – Becky: writing the Checkpoints activities
  • 15:20 – What ‘algebra’ looks like in primary
  • 16:20 – Checkpoints for CPD
  • 17:53 – Steph: mapping Checkpoints to her own SoW
  • 19:03 – ‘Dots’ Checkpoint 4, from Arithmetic procedures with integers and decimals (see below)
  • 24:15 – ‘Arithmequick’ Checkpoint 15 from Expressions and equations
  • 25:05 – The distributive law (The distributive law is addressed in Core Concept 1.4 of the NCETM Secondary Mastery Professional Development Materials)
  • 27:07 – Unitising (Read more about unitising here: What is unitising, and why is it important? | NCETM)
  • 34:58 – Shape balance, Checkpoint 2 from Expressions and equations
  • 40:33 – Join a professional discussion about Checkpoints

Useful links

Becky tweets as @donaldson_maths and Steph tweets as @steph_mathsive

Checkpoints webpage, where you can download the PowerPoints and sign up for the seminars

Teachers can join a professional discussion about using the Checkpoints activities in our Basecamp community

NCETM Secondary Mastery Professional Development Materials

NCETM Primary Mastery Professional Development Materials

NCETM Departmental Workshops

Steph mentions using double-sided counters and algebra tiles. Using mathematical representations at KS3 | NCETM offers more guidance with using these resources and others.

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