Background to the Maths Hubs Programme

How did it start and how does it run?

When were Maths Hubs first established?

The first 32 Maths Hubs were announced in July 2014. The most recent hubs were launched in September 2020, bringing the total to 40 hubs.

What is a Lead School?

Each hub is led by one or two Lead Schools or colleges, but it is in fact a partnership of schools, colleges and other organisations working together to improve maths education in an area. The Lead School identifies strategic partners – people who help plan and evaluate the hub’s work – and operational partners – people who help carry out the hub’s work.

The Lead School or college for each hub is selected through a process run by the Department for Education (DfE) and the NCETM. The selection process identifies schools that demonstrate the credibility, capacity and commitment to lead a Maths Hub.

How are Maths Hubs funded?

The DfE funds the Maths Hubs Programme. Other organisations also sometimes sponsor particular Maths Hub projects. For example, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has supported two trials in the field of mathematical reasoning.

How do the Maths Hubs work together to create a national network?

The NCETM coordinates all 40 Maths Hubs as they work towards common goals. Those involved with the Maths Hubs share experience and expertise online and face-to-face, forming a large national network of people who lead maths education. The network develops its work through regular Maths Hub leadership forums (face-to-face and online), national projects, and the Maths Hubs Council.

What is the England-China teacher exchange programme?

An exchange programme between primary and secondary teachers from England and their counterparts in Shanghai took place each year between 2014 and 2019, along with ‘Shanghai Showcase’ events during the Shanghai teachers' visit to England. These allowed teachers across the country to observe lessons taught by Shanghai teachers, and discuss their pedagogy and approaches. When it takes place, the exchange is an important part of the Teaching for Mastery Programme.

Every school year since 2014/15, a group of teachers in England has taken part in this exchange. It usually involves two or three teachers from each Maths Hub. These teachers spend two weeks observing how maths is taught in Shanghai schools. Later in the school year, they host partner Shanghai teachers at their own schools for a fortnight. When the Shanghai teachers are in England, their lessons are observed by teachers from neighbouring schools in every Maths Hub area. Post-lesson discussions take place. In these, the lesson design and delivery are unpicked in detail, with a view to understanding how teaching for mastery can work in local classrooms. In this way, several thousand teachers across England have been exposed to the successful Shanghai version of teaching for mastery.

What is the role of the AMSP?

The AMSP (Advanced Mathematics Support Programme) is a government-funded initiative managed by MEI, who also manage (along with Etio Global) the NCETM. AMSP works closely with the Maths Hubs on projects and initiatives covering AS/A level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Core Maths.