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Ongoing professional development of maths teachers should be taken more seriously

NCETM Director calls for all maths teachers, and all primary teachers, to be given a protected amount of subject-specific professional development time

  • Published: 15/01/2020

The NCETM’s Director, Charlie Stripp, has called for all maths teachers, and all primary teachers, to be given a protected amount of subject-specific professional development time every year.

Only then, he argues in a new blog post, will teaching become, in his words, 'a career worth having'.

The blog post cites two recent interventions, from influential sources, which underline the importance of professional development:

  • Andreas Schleicher, from the organisation behind the international PISA tests, says: ‘Attracting, developing and retaining the best teachers is the greatest challenge education systems have to face’.[our italics]
  • The recently re-shaped Ofsted inspection framework suggests inspectors will value this emphasis from headteachers: ‘leaders focus on improving staff’s subject and pedagogical content knowledge to enhance the teaching of the curriculum…’

Charlie laments the fact that ‘the professional development structure for teaching, particularly the development and accreditation of subject-specific teaching expertise, has been virtually non-existent.’

But he also strikes a hopeful chord in arguing that the professional development provided through Maths Hubs, and its sister organisation, the Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP) is of high quality.

He quotes two teachers’ accounts of their recent professional development experiences:

  • ‘A fab day back with NCETM, this time for Work Group Lead training on same-day intervention. Thanks for all the support from the established WGLs, the wealth of reading and useful strategies. Excited to get started!’ (Year 5 teacher working with Abacus NW Maths Hub)
  • ‘I have attended a number of CPD sessions with @NMMathsHub including TSST, SEND working group and Teaching challenging topics at GCSE. All have supported and enhanced my teaching this year.’ (Secondary teacher working with North Mids Maths Hub)

In conclusion, Charlie calls for all teachers to be entitled to a protected amount of maths-specific professional development every year. That, he argues, would go some way to making teaching a more attractive career, and stemming the flow of teachers leaving after only a few years in the profession.

Read the full blog post.

Read about the unique Work Group model, which characterises all Maths Hubs' professional and school development activity.

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