We hope you’ve had a good break! Our first newsletter of the school year gathers together some of the key developments in the school and college maths world you may have missed over the summer, and highlights a couple of new events this side of half term.
Summer exam results
A level results statistics this year showed that Maths remains the most popular subject at A level. Equally encouraging was the continued rise in those taking the more challenging Further Mathematics.
The background to GCSE results was somewhat complicated, given the new (harder) content being examined, and the new grading system. Given those two changes, trends were difficult to read, but on paper, across the country, results appeared very similar to last year.
Commenting on GCSE results, the NCETM’s Director, Charlie Stripp, said:
‘The new 9 to 1 graded GCSE Maths, taken for the first time this year, is more demanding than the previous A* - G graded GCSE, and has been designed to ensure students are better prepared for the mathematical demands of their future study and careers. We must focus on raising the proportion of young people who achieve at least a ‘standard pass’ (grade 4) or a ‘strong pass’ (grade 5 or above) at their first attempt, at the end of Year 11. I hope they will now choose to study AS/A level Maths or Core Maths post-16.’
And the new maths GCSE is the topic of discussion in tonight’s #mathscpdchat from 7pm.
The NCETM welcomes new £16m programme to support post GCSE Maths
The announcement from the DfE of a new £16m programme to support the teaching of maths after GCSE, was made in response to the publication of the wide-ranging review into post-16 maths by Sir Adrian Smith.
The NCETM Director, Charlie Stripp, said:
‘I strongly welcome the new Level 3 Mathematics Support Programme announced by the DfE. As Sir Adrian’s review shows, increasing participation in all Level 3 qualifications is hugely important.
‘As well as supporting Sir Adrian’s recommendations relating to Level 3 mathematics, I also strongly support the other recommendations of the review, including those relating to supporting the provision of maths education in FE, to addressing inequalities in participation in post-16 maths education, and to addressing negative attitudes towards maths at all levels of education. In particular, I endorse his call for a long overdue review into the current GCSE Mathematics re-sit policy.’
Core Maths and Underground Mathematics resources: new arrangements
In case you missed the news during the summer, the Core Maths and Underground Maths resources that have been developed so far are still freely available, but under slightly different curation arrangements.
The Core Maths resources are now to be found within the STEM Learning website.
Meanwhile, the resources produced by the five-year Underground Mathematics project, at Cambridge University’s Centre for Mathematical Sciences, are being handed over to NRICH, part of the wider family of maths organisations at Cambridge. More information can be found on the Underground Mathematics homepage.
In addition, our partner organisation, MEI, will continue to run their free one-day Underground Mathematics CPD course until March 2018. Full details and booking information on MEI’s dedicated Underground Mathematics webpage. You might also be interested in this article introducing Underground Mathematics a year ago in our Secondary Magazine.
Critical thinking and problem-solving
The British Council in collaboration with the NCETM, has developed a free two-day programme for secondary school maths teachers, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in Mathematics, organised by a number of Maths Hubs around England. Participants are eligible to apply for a £3,000 British Council grant for an overseas study trip. Dates fixed already are those run by London South East Maths Hub (starting 2 October), North North West Maths Hub (starting 3 October), and GLOW Maths Hub (starting 10 October).
Tonight (Tuesday 12 September) sees the resumption of our Twitter-based chats, which take place on Tuesday evenings 7-8pm, using the hashtag #mathscpdchat. The topic tonight is GCSE and what teachers learnt from this year’s results. You can find more information, including future discussion topics, and details of how to take part, at https://www.ncetm.org.uk/mathscpdchat.
- The start of the new academic year is a good time to check that your user details are up to date – especially if you’ve changed job or school over the summer. Changing your account details is quick and easy: our Frequently Asked Questions page has full details. If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- London's six Maths Hubs are joining forces to host The Power of Six conference, showcasing the best in evidence informed practice in maths education across all phases, form early years to university. It takes place on 19 October at City of London Boys School, and online booking is now open.
Register with us!
If you haven't already registered on the NCETM website, it's free and easy, so please do register now. Once registered you can add your comments and join in the discussions, and gain access to a large collection of resources and information.
Please do contact us if you have any comments on this newsletter.