The NCETM Maths Podcast
How mastery works in a secondary school maths department

How mastery works in a secondary school maths department

July 18, 2019

In this podcast, the last of the 2018/19 school year, we find out how a secondary school maths department works together to ensure all maths lessons in Years 7 and 8 are consistent in approach—and it’s a teaching for mastery approach developed by the department gradually over three years. One of the teachers interviewed has just finished the first year of training, with the NCETM and his local Maths Hub, as a Mastery Specialist. The other is the head of KS3 maths at the school, Penrice Academy in St Austell, Cornwall.

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Matt Smith, Mastery Specialist teacher, Penrice Academy
  • Gerald Parry, Head of Key Stage 3 maths, Penrice Academy
  • Steve McCormack, Communications Director, NCETM
Behind the scenes of the Mastery Readiness Programme

Behind the scenes of the Mastery Readiness Programme

June 10, 2019

In this podcast, we visit Spring Bank Primary School in Leeds and talk to headteacher, Sarah Hawes and maths lead, Tracey Baruah. With 40 years’ experience between them, they explain their enthusiasm for what the Mastery Readiness Programme is offering the children in their school.

The Mastery Readiness Programme began work with a small number of schools in the Northern Powerhouse in 2018/19. The programme was designed in response to Maths Hubs’ recognition that some schools were not able or ready to engage with the full Teaching for Mastery Programme. This bespoke programme offers schools support with preparatory groundwork to become ‘ready’ for teaching for mastery. The programme is being rolled out nationally in 2019/20.

If your school might benefit from participation in the expanding Mastery Readiness Programme, please contact your local Maths Hub, or email Emma Patman or Elizabeth Lambert directly.

You can also find out more about the programme by visiting the Mastery Readiness section of our website.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Sarah Hawes, Headteacher at Spring Bank Primary School
  • Tracey Baruah, Maths Lead at Spring Bank Primary School
  • Gwen Tresidder, Communications Manager, NCETM

Episode chapters

  • 01:10 – Introductions and how the school began with mastery
  • 05:05 – What the Mastery Readiness Programme involves
  • 07:25 – Not like attending one-off workshops
  • 09:45 – Getting all staff on board
  • 12:32 – Articulate children
  • 14:47 – A different type of training
  • 18:42 – Understanding what ‘going deeper’ means
  • 19:29 – Focus on problem solving
  • 25:18 – What pupils have got out of it
  • 27:17 – Abandoning ability-groupings: a revelation
  • 32:26 – Next year: the full Teaching for Mastery Programme
  • 33:57 – The challenges
  • 39:39 – Advice for heads considering Mastery Readiness.
Teaching the hardest topics in GCSE maths

Teaching the hardest topics in GCSE maths

March 18, 2019

Teaching the hardest topics in GCSE maths

Which are the hardest topics in GCSE maths? You will know some by reputation. Some might surprise you. What can you do to make these topics more accessible to students? In particular, how can you unlock a depth of understanding that allows students to use their knowledge flexibly and in unfamiliar situations?

The Maths Hub network’s national project, ‘Challenging Topics at GCSE’, addresses these issues, through local collaborative teacher Work Groups.

In this podcast, two teachers from South Yorkshire, who lead Work Groups, tell us why teachers should get involved. They tell us about the benefits to teachers and their wider departments. The podcast begins with an interview with Kathryn Greenhalgh, Maths Hub Lead for Yorkshire and the Humber, who gives a national picture of the project.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Kathryn Greenhalgh, Maths Hub Lead for Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Lisa Wilson, Penistone Grammar School, Barnsley, and Work Group Lead for South Yorkshire Maths Hub
  • Rosie Kavanagh, Oakwood High School, Rotherham, and Work Group Lead for South Yorkshire Maths Hub
  • Gwen Tresidder, Communications Manager, NCETM
Why and how to use the ‘ping-pong’ teaching style

Why and how to use the ‘ping-pong’ teaching style

March 6, 2019

The episodic or ‘ping-pong' teaching approach is one of the most striking features of a mastery-style lesson. But what is it exactly and how does it affect decisions when planning lessons?

In this podcast, Primary Mastery Specialists Faye Glendinning and Sam Shutkever take us through the gritty detail of episodic lesson planning.

They explain the theory and how it is implemented in their schools. Each of them then takes us through the episodes of a recent lesson in detail, explaining each planning decision.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Faye Glendinning, Cedars Academy, Birmingham, and Central Maths Hub
  • Sam Shutkever, Akroydon Primary Academy, Halifax, and West Yorkshire Maths Hub
  • Gwen Tresidder, Communications Manager, NCETM

Additional related content is available on the podcast page on our website.

Raising girls’ participation in maths

Raising girls’ participation in maths

February 13, 2019

After GCSE, 20% fewer girls than boys continue studying maths. This limits their access to some of the more challenging, interesting and lucrative careers. But why? In this podcast episode we speak with Rachel Beddoes, Girls’ Participation Coordinator of the Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP). She explains what the barriers are for girls, and what teachers and schools can do to overcome these. She also gives details of events and bespoke support available from the AMSP and other organisations. There are links below for more details on these.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Rachel Beddoes, Girls’ Participation Coordinatior, AMSP
  • Gwen Tressider, Communications Manager, NCETM

Episode chapters

  • 00:57 – The creation of the AMSP
  • 02:34 – Rachel’s (maths) life story
  • 04:34 – Why is a Girls Participation Officer needed?
  • 07:34 – Why are fewer girls doing advanced maths than boys?
  • 11:33 – What is AMSP doing about it?
  • 13:50 – How could teachers address these barriers?
  • 15:30 – Core Maths and girls
  • 19:33 – What can teachers do? 
  • 22:01 – What are Stemettes?
  • 24:11 – What can 11-16 schools do?
  • 26:13 – The role of female maths teachers
  • 28:51 – Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)
  • 31:33 – Whole school strategies

Links for research and initiatives mentioned in the interview:

Primary maths teaching in Shanghai: an exchange teacher’s view

Primary maths teaching in Shanghai: an exchange teacher’s view

January 10, 2019

How does maths teaching in a primary school in Shanghai look and feel to an experienced observing teacher from an English school? A Mastery Specialist from Leicestershire, who was among a group of teachers from Maths Hubs who visited Shanghai during school year 2018/19, gives her impressions.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Afshah Deen, Primary Mastery Specialist and Year 2 teacher at Parkland Primary School, Wigston, Leicestershire
  • Chris Shore, Maths Hub Lead, East Midlands South Maths Hub
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director

Episode chapters

  • 03:29 – Afshah’s overview of the experience
  • 06:36 – What impressed Afshah most
  • 07:17 – What surprised Afshah
  • 09:04 – A lesson on properties of 3-D shapes
  • 10:10 – Thoughts on small steps within lessons
  • 12:02 – Fluency of the Shanghai pupils
  • 13:16 – Shanghai teachers’ planning and discussions
  • 17:42 – How the experience has affected Afshah as a teacher
  • 18:58 – The wider context of teacher exchanges over the year
  • 24:19 – How ‘greater depth’ is viewed in Shanghai
  • 27:43 – Afshah’s role in her area as a Mastery Specialist 

Information on where showcase lessons are being held in late January 2019.

Secondary maths teaching in Shanghai: two teachers reflect

Secondary maths teaching in Shanghai: two teachers reflect

January 10, 2019

How does maths teaching in a secondary school in Shanghai look and feel to experienced observing teachers from secondary schools in England? Two Mastery Specialist teachers from North West England, who were among a group of teachers from Maths Hubs who visited Shanghai during school year 2018/19, give their impressions.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Jayne Watts, teacher at Alsager School and Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead for North Mids and Peaks Maths Hub
  • Dave Connell, 2nd in Maths at Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham, and Secondary Teaching for Mastery Lead for North West Two Maths Hub
  • Gwen Tresidder, NCETM Communications Manager

Episode chapters

  • 03:46 – Most striking things in the classroom
  • 06:59 – Most striking things about the children
  • 09:24 – Applying mastery in the English cultural context
  • 11:05 – How Chinese students get ahead of their English peers
  • 12:41 – Culture of collaborative working 
  • 16:01 – Lessons from teaching Chinese students
  • 18:01 – Changing practice as a result of visit
  • 22:20 – What about pupils that say ‘I can already do that’?

Information on where showcase lessons are being held in late January 2019.

What are the benefits of being a Primary Mastery Specialist?

What are the benefits of being a Primary Mastery Specialist?

December 11, 2018

How do you become a Mastery Specialist? What are the personal and professional benefits? How can you have impact in your own school? And what happens when your skills take you even further? Leanne Casey tells us about her experiences.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Leanne Casey, Primary Mastery Specialist and Deputy Head at St. Michael’s CE Primary School in Bedworth, Coventry (a two-form entry primary school)
  • Beth Goodliff, NCETM Communications Officer

This podcast complements the Mastery Specialist information on the Maths Hubs website.

Episode chapters

  • 00:45 – How Leanne became a Mastery Specialist
  • 04:10 – Starting to work with other schools
  • 05:45 – Getting buy-in from headteacher
  • 07:20 – The context of Leanne’s school and its maths performance
  • 09:00 – Convincing class teachers, even though maths results were good
  • 14:15 – Keeping the mastery momentum going  
  • 17:30 – Embedding newly appointed teachers
  • 20:45 – How Leanne has benefited personally
  • 23:00 – Working on mastery with a different Maths Hub, in London
  • 27:40 – Advice for a teacher considering applying to train as a Mastery Specialist

If you are interested in becoming a Mastery Specialist, contact your local Maths Hub. They will tell you when the next recruitment window opens, and how to apply.

How Early Years children develop mathematical thinking

How Early Years children develop mathematical thinking

November 23, 2018

How do young children (Reception age and below) develop their early mathematical thinking? How do those teaching them help the children build a platform of understanding? And where does maths fit in to the wider picture of childhood development? Two experts in the field explain.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Dr Sue Gifford, Mathematics Education Department, Roehampton University
  • Viv Lloyd, NCETM Assistant Director, Primary and Early Years Mathematics
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director

This podcast complements the information on Early Years maths on the NCETM website.

Episode chapters

07:48 - Comparison
10:38 - Cardinality
14:18 - Subitising
18:38 - Conservation
20:38 - Composition
24:18 - Pattern
26:28 - Shape and Space
27:53 - Measures
31:38 - Where maths fits in with other early learning

You may also be interested in this article on subitising, from a recent issue of the NCETM Primary Magazine.

Information on Maths Hubs work in the area of Early Years maths.

What is it like to be in a Maths Hub Work Group?

What is it like to be in a Maths Hub Work Group?

October 30, 2018

Two secondary teachers, one a head of department, explain how participating in a Maths Hub Work Group on mathematical thinking both helped their own teaching and sowed seeds of improvement in their departments.

Show notes:

Taking part in the discussion are:

  • Satveer Bahia, from Platanos College, working with London Thames Maths Hub (@Mathshub_LT)
  • Catriona Shearer (@CShearer41) from Saffron Walden County High School, working with Cambridge Maths Hub (@CamMathsHub)
  • Steve McCormack, NCETM Communications Director

For information about all Maths Hubs projects and Work Groups, and to find contacts details for a Maths Hub near you, go to www.mathshubs.org.uk.

This article from a recent NCETM Secondary magazine gives more information and accounts about what a Maths Hubs Work Group entails.