The NCETM Maths Podcast
Lessons from GCSE maths exams in summer 2022

Lessons from GCSE maths exams in summer 2022

October 12, 2022

In summer 2022, for the first time since 2019, large-scale GCSE exams took place in school and college halls and gyms. And, just like every year before the pandemic, they were marked externally. What have we learnt? In this discussion, representatives from the awarding bodies give feedback from the hundreds of thousands of papers that were marked.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion:

  • Mark Heslop, Pearson/Edexcel
  • Neil Ogden, OCR
  • Andrew Taylor, AQA
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director

Episode chapters

  • 00:08 Introductions and headline observations
  • 04:15 Algebra
  • 09:00 Higher tier questions and Advanced Information
  • 17:45 Questions involving graphs and diagrams
  • 22:40 Petrol prices, car number plates and ice cream cones (questions that raised a smile)

Useful links

For Edexcel, follow @EmporiumMaths on Twitter.

For OCR, go to their website.

For AQA, follow @AQAMaths on Twitter.

The NCETM shares information from all awarding bodies, the DfE, Ofqual and others via the Twitter account @NCETMQandC.

From GCSE Maths resits to primary school maths lead

From GCSE Maths resits to primary school maths lead

September 29, 2022

Hollie Burgess teaches maths to Year 6 at a one-form entry primary school in Rutland. She’s recently taken on the role of maths lead. But she hasn’t always found maths easy – in fact her experience of maths GCSE was tortuous and demoralising. In this conversation Hollie shares the insights her experience has given her, into what some of her pupils might be experiencing. And she encourages teachers to recognise the importance of children’s confidence and happiness in helping them to learn.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion:

  • Hollie Burgess, Year 6 teacher and maths lead, Ketton Church of England School, Rutland
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager.

Episode chapters

  • 01:00 Introduction to Hollie and her school
  • 03:55 Hollie’s maths story: primary and secondary school
  • 10:33 Hollie’s maths story: post-16
  • 15:10 Hollie’s maths story: university
  • 16:20 Did you fear teaching maths?
  • 17:58 How does your experience affect your classroom practice?
  • 21:04 Tips for teachers who have never found maths difficult.

Useful links

Hollie tweets as @hollieteach.

At 02:58 Hollie mentions that her school is involved in Maths Hubs CPD in a Teaching for Mastery (Sustaining) Work Group with East Midlands South Maths Hub. Find out more by following the links.

Teaching about climate change in the maths classroom

Teaching about climate change in the maths classroom

September 23, 2022

Two authors talk about their new resources and suggest tips for addressing social issues through maths

There’s undoubtedly plenty of maths in climate change science. But how can teachers bring some of this real-life data into the classroom, allowing students to see maths as a tool to help interpret the world? Is this a maths teacher’s responsibility, or should they stick to more abstract maths? What is the best way to manage discussion on social (and potentially emotive) issues?

MEI and the Royal Meteorological Society have recently published four resources to support teachers in raising issues of climate science through maths lessons. They cover Trees for Net Zero, Trees and Carbon Capture, Extreme Weather, and EVolution of Vehicle Sales.

Alistair and Tom, two of the resource authors, talk about what they considered in creating the resources and how they hope teachers might use them with students in Key Stage 3 or Core Maths classes. 

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion:

  • Alistair Bissell, AMSP Level 3 Maths Professional Development Coordinator
  • Tom Rainbow, AMSP National Coordinator for Core Maths Professional Development
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager.

Episode chapters

  • 00:00 Introducing the speakers
  • 01:22 Overview of the resources
  • 02:52 What are maths teachers’ responsibilities for addressing social and political issues?
  • 05:18 What are the benefits of addressing such issues?
  • 06:45 How did you choose which aspects of climate change to focus on?
  • 08:30 What will students learn?
  • 14:10 Managing emotive issues and differences of opinion in the classroom
  • 18:17 Maintaining balance
  • 21:58 Digging into the maths.

Useful links

Alistair tweets as @comparagrams, Tom tweets as @CoreMathsTom – they would welcome feedback from teachers and students on use of these resources.

The Maths and Climate Change resources can be found on MEI's website.

Susan Okereke: What I think about when starting with new classes

Susan Okereke: What I think about when starting with new classes

August 31, 2022

A wide ranging conversation covering engagement, curriculum, classroom culture, and preparing students for maths beyond school

Susan Okereke is a secondary maths teacher in London, recently moving to St. Mark’s Academy in South London as Lead Practitioner in maths. She also leads Work Groups for the London SE Plus Maths Hub. Beyond that, she has developed a role as an independent ‘maths communicator’, aiming to make maths less frightening and more available to all, throughout their lives and not only during school. She does this through her podcast, blog, social media and public speaking.

In this conversation, Susan tells us about what she considers when faced with new classes, including creating the right environment, setting expectations, dealing with disruption and prioritising the classes and students she finds most challenging. She also gives her views on the difficulties with the current GCSE maths curriculum, particularly at Foundation level, what might better replace it and how powerful maths can be as a tool for social mobility

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Susan Okereke, maths teacher and Lead Practitioner, St. Mark’s Academy, Mitcham, London
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager

Episodes:

  • 00:00 – Intro and background
  • 03:46 – How teaching adult numeracy informs the way Susan now teaches secondary students
  • 10:16 – GCSE Foundation maths curriculum ‘not fit for purpose’
  • 15:41 – Susan talks about her role as a ‘maths communicator’
  • 16:36 – Maths as a tool for social mobility: encouraging diversity and inclusion
  • 21:28 – What Susan is thinking about with new classes in September
  • 24:56 – The importance of learner engagement: creating an approach response in the brain
  • 26:41 – Managing students who are not in the right state to learn

Useful links:

Susan tweets as @DoTheMathsThing

Susan’s website, Do the Maths Thing, contains links to all the projects Susan is currently involved in, and to her blog

Susan co-hosts the Maths Appeal podcast with Bobby Seagull.

The ECT and the mentor

The ECT and the mentor

July 19, 2022

How can a maths department and mentor best support their maths ECT?

Sarah Williams is one of 2021/22’s maths Early Career Teachers (ECTs), and Scott Gibson is her mentor, with two decades of experience teaching maths. We talk to them about how department collaborative planning procedures and open, approachable mentoring have made Sarah’s first year in teaching ‘fantastic’!

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Sarah Williams, maths ECT at David Nieper Academy
  • Scott Gibson, maths teacher at David Nieper Academy
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager

Episodes:

  • 01:06 – Introducing Sarah, Scott and their school
  • 06:20 – Y7 maths project: Mini-olympics
  • 07:26 – Teaching Y7 fractions/probability unit
  • 10:41 – How department collaborative planning has been supportive
  • 21:21 – The advantages of being a mature ECT
  • 24:06 – Tips for new ECTs
  • 25:09 – The mentoring role
  • 27:31 – Advice for new mentors

Useful links:

Planning collaboratively and learning together as a department | NCETM (an article written in June 2022 about collaborative planning at David Nieper Academy, mentioned in the conversation)

Specialist Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics - Secondary Early Career Teachers | NCETM Details of a maths-specific CPD project run in Maths Hubs around the country, specifically for ECTs

Early career framework A framework of standards to help early career teachers succeed at the start of their careers

Debbie Morgan discusses differentiation

Debbie Morgan discusses differentiation

June 30, 2022

NCETM’s Director for Primary tells us why she thinks teachers no longer need to provide different work for different children

Debbie Morgan, NCETM Director for Primary, has been considering the practice of differentiation in the primary maths classroom – specifically the practice of planning for different questioning and supplementary tasks for different groups of children, even where most of the lesson is taught to the whole class. Fresh from speaking at a number of summer conferences in 2022, Debbie explained her developing thinking to us on the podcast.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion:

  • Debbie Morgan, NCETM Director for Primary
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager

Episode chapters:

  • 01:04 – Should there be any differentiation within a teaching for mastery approach?
  • 04:41 – How can teachers cater for children who understand concepts more quickly?
  • 14:19 – Can all children access these lessons, even those with SEND that affects their maths learning?
  • 16:36 – How does whole class teaching work for children with gaps in schooling?
  • 18:06 – Would you remove differentiation from an upper primary class that were new to a mastery approach?
  • 20:11 – Does removing differentiation reduce teacher workload?

Useful links:

Support, ideas and information for teaching Core Maths

Support, ideas and information for teaching Core Maths

May 25, 2022

A conversation with the AMSP's Core Maths coordinator, and an enthusiastic Core Maths teacher

Cat van Saarloos coordinates support and development of Core Maths for the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP); Sam Halls-Barker teaches Core Maths in Essex. From the conversation, we find out what lessons are like and pick up some inspiring lesson ideas. We hear all about the support available from the Core Maths community and from a wide array of professional development. Below are links to all the resources mentioned in the discussion, and more.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Cat van Saarloos, Core Maths support and development coordinator for the AMSP.
  • Sam Halls-Barker, teacher of Core Maths at Saffron Walden County High School, and Core Maths advocate for the AMSP.
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager.

Episode chapters

  • 01:01 - What is Core Maths?
  • 01:30 - What does Core Maths look like in Sam’s classroom? Fermi estimates, Personal finance, How much has it cost to keep you alive up to this point? Setting up a business.
  • 06:36 - We don’t encounter ‘when will I ever use this maths?’
  • 07:21 - How many schools/students do Core Maths now?
  • 08:41 - What do universities think of Core Maths?
  • 09:13 - Where does Core Maths fit into a school/college’s post-16 offer?
  • 13:23 - Working with exam board pre-release material
  • 16:06 - Network meetings and professional development
  • 23:21 - Lessons inspired by a news story
  • 28:01 - Using a textbook
  • 29:56 - Which students is Core Maths suitable for?
  • 32:26 - Lessons on the Rwandan genocide and on Trump’s tax reforms.

Useful links

Sam tweets as @samhallsbarker

Cat tweets as @CoreMathsCat and curates a page: Getting Started with Core Maths - Everything you need to know about Core Maths in one place.

The Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP)

What’s going on in this graph? A resource from the New York Times, with graphs from real data and suggested classroom prompts

Questions inspired by a news story A blog of resources and suggestions for use, by Mark Dawes

Integral: AMSP’s online platform providing free resources for Core Maths and AS/A level Maths and Further Maths to teachers, and also student resources to support learning AS/A level Further Maths.

Core Maths resources from AMSP

Which Core Maths Professional Development course is right for me? AMSP and Maths Hubs’ Core Maths CPD, including free online festival (June/July 2022) and Core Maths Conference in Birmingham (18th June 2022)

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

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