The question here is focusing on who are the members of the school community who make a contribution to the children’s mathematical learning. Teachers, Teaching Assistants, the Mathematics Governor and Parents are all key players in supporting children’s mathematical learning.
The Ofsted report (2008) Mathematics: understanding the score
has some key recommendations that impact on the need for CPD for teachers:
The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the National Strategies should:
- explore strategies through which the subject expertise (knowledge of mathematics and of the ways pupils learn the subject) of all teachers of mathematics can be developed and lead to recognition and reward
- provide guidance for schools on enhancing subject expertise in mathematics
- devise guidance for teachers on the effective use of mathematics-specific
- pedagogy to aid the development of pupils’ understanding.
- improve subject leaders’ expertise so that they are well placed to lead improvements in the teaching and learning of mathematics and the curriculum
- encourage teachers to focus more on developing pupils’ understanding and on checking it throughout lessons
- provide well targeted professional development in mathematics, particularly to improve teachers’ subject-specific pedagogy and the subject knowledge of non-specialist teachers of mathematics.
Two Ofsted reports underline what we instinctively know for ourselves from school, that Teaching Assistants make an invaluable contribution to classroom life and to the children’s learning. In the light of this we need to ensure that they are suitably trained and equipped for the roles they are asked to fulfil – particularly in regard to maths in this case. They are key candidates for CPD provision in the school.
Ofsted's Review of Primary Education (1994-1995), stated that, "well trained Teaching Assistants are a key resource".
Teaching Assistants in Primary Schools: An Evaluation of the Quality and Impact of their Work
, a report by HMI (April 2002) states,
In primary schools, there is a need to:
- develop strategies for managing effectively the increased numbers of teaching assistants, including those providing SEN support
- monitor the pattern of teaching assistants’ work throughout the school and review the efficiency and effectiveness of their deployment
- monitor the amount of time individual pupils or groups of pupils spend with teaching assistants
- establish appraisal systems for teaching assistants
- ensure that teaching assistants have the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively with pupils
- identify and disseminate good practice in working with teaching assistants
- evaluate systematically the effect of teaching assistants’ support on pupils’ achievements.
The Numeracy Governor
It is recommended that the Mathematics Governor:
- attends some of the in-service training dedicated to Numeracy
- makes termly visits to see maths lessons in the classroom
- be involved in the school’s strategy to inform parents and involve them in their children’s learning of the subject.
Sir Peter Williams in his 2008 review has a significant paragraph on the CPD that children wanted their parents to have. It is interesting that the children want their parents to be up to date with current methods so that they can help them with their maths.
Parents and mathematics
256. During the review a number of themes around parenting have emerged. On visits to early years settings and schools, the panel heard time and again from children that they would like their parents to be taught the methods they are learning in mathematics, which have changed considerably since their parents were at school. This makes it difficult for parents to support their children. And indeed, the panel believes that the lack of clarification and setting out of the methods of teaching is a missed opportunity for engaging parents and improving their children’s attainment. It is important that practitioners are encouraged to work with parents to bring them up to date with the methods currently used to teach mathematics, so that parents can support their children effectively. A number of schools already run evening sessions for parents to help them with this. Others invite parents into school to work alongside their children. An outstanding example of this type of work is the Ocean Mathematics Project in Tower Hamlets.
The Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools
Final Report Sir Peter Williams June 2008.
What CPD have these members of the school community had at your school over the past academic year?
How much CPD input has there been for each of these groups?
What has been the impact on children’s learning in the classroom?
You may like to download this grid to help you quantify the answers to these questions. You may want to ask members of the SLT about the impact on children’s learning if you are not sure.
Read the excerpt and ask yourself:
How would you like to develop this over the next academic year?
Are there areas that are thin? Are there areas that need more attention due to the focus of your school SDP?
What challenges are there that you need to overcome to ensure high quality CPD for each of these members of your school community?
Talk to other Maths Subject Leaders to share ideas, especially how you might overcome challenges that you have highlighted.
What are your priorities to ensure the maximum impact on children’s learning?
Make some notes in your Maths Subject Leader file about the provision for CPD in your school, and your future ideas and plans.
Does one size fit all?
The Cambridge Primary Review
Here is an excerpt from The Cambridge Primary Review (2009) that was headed by Professor Robin Alexander that talks about the spectrum of CPD for teachers.
- have you encountered an outstanding teacher as described in the Review? If so, how would you describe them and their impact on learning?
- what is the central point that this excerpt from the Cambridge Primary Review is seeking to make?
Who do you agree with? The Review? The Teachers' Standards?
How would you describe the development in teaching expertise as teachers progress through their careers?
A recommendation from the RECME project
A key RECME recommendation is that there needs to be provision of a range of models of CPD so that teachers have opportunities to engage in different kinds of CPD at appropriate times in their career.
The RECME final report and an executive summary are both available to download.
Is your school providing a range of models of CPD or does one size fit all?
What would be different about the models for teachers in the first few years of teaching and those more established teachers?
Use your Personal Learning Space to record your findings about types of CPD in your school and your thoughts about the development of teaching expertise.