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What about accountability?

Created on 27 May 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 09 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator


What does it mean to lead?

Maths Subject Leaders develop monitoring processes to provide information on pupils and provision that significantly contribute to whole school self-evaluation:

  • how well does maths serve its learners?
  • how does it compare to the best schools and the best comparable schools?
  • is it integral to the school’s key management systems?
  • is it based on a good range of telling evidence?
  • does it involve key people in the school and seek the views of parents/carers, learners, staff and external agencies?

Monitoring results – how do we know when something is working?

Monitoring results can be a matter of scrutinising data or if current practice or an innovation is working effectively there are many additional opportunities that can be used, for example:

  • lesson observations
  • staff meetings
  • informal discussions
  • pupil voice.

All these actions feed into your knowledge of school mathematics and what is working within it and what is not. However it is well worth setting certain times when you reflect carefully on the evidence. More information and ideas on these can be found in Module 2 - Leading Learning

Evaluating Mathematics in your school

It may be useful to keep a record of the following:

  • characteristics of your team – strengths and areas for development based on evidence
  • views of learners, their parents or carers, and other stakeholders
  • strong and weak attainment in a year group or topic 
  • children’s personal development and well-being
  • quality of provision; state what difference your provision has made in all ECM outcomes and how you know
  • how monitoring and evaluation is used to raise standards and improve the quality of education.

Write a paragraph or two on how well mathematics is doing in your school.
What has changed in the last six months?
What has been successful? What hasn’t?
What are the strengths of mathematics in your school?
What still needs to be improved?
Update this regularly as part of your self–evaluation process


  • evaluate – make judgements about outcomes for pupils and the quality of provision
  • be precise – base judgements on evidence of pupil learning
  • explain impact – link judgements about the quality of provision to impact – refer to the success criteria in your action plan
  • be transparent and specific – make it readable to your Head teacher or to governors or other stakeholders
  • reflect stakeholders’ views - include what you know about the views of pupils and their parents and carers.

What does all this evidence tell us? What should I do with it?

This table shows what you could use as a source of information, and what it could tell you.

Organise the evidence that you have collected in your file. Now add a paragraph under each section analysing what the evidence is telling you about Mathematics in your school.
Is there anything missing? If so, add it to your action plan and discuss it with your Senior Leadership Team.

Who are we accountable to? How does this relate to the quality of our provision?

Ofsted and all that

  • Standards: an evaluation of the standard of pupils’ work in relation to their learning goals
  • Progress: an assessment of pupils’ progress relative to their prior attainment and potential, with any significant variation between groups of learners
  • Achievement: an overall assessment of pupils’ success in achieving challenging targets, including qualifications and learning goals with trends over time and any significant variations between groups of learners.

Definitions – taken from the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework 2009

An OFSTED inspection team will use Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self-Evaluation (RAISEonline) statistics and the school’s own Self Evaluation Form (SEF) to form the basis of their initial judgements. Overall achievement is considered in relation to Mathematics attainment and pupil progress. At this early stage, areas for further investigation during the inspection are identified.

How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners, is part of the school’s accountability and therefore is a key part of the role of the mathematics subject leader.  The task here is to decide how well pupils make progress and how this matches up to what you would expect given the pupils’ context and starting points. The judgement on progress is, in effect, the value added by the school. A starting point is the information in the RAISE report. Evidence of the school’s success in meeting challenging targets will be important in evaluating the learners’ progress.

Data in School
For a more in-depth look at data go to Module 3 - Leading personalised learning.

This section begins to answer some of the questions that the Mathematics Subject Leaders may be asked.

What data is there in school?
New subject leaders are likely to find that someone in the Senior Leadership Team has carried out a subject analysis of mathematics at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 using a range of data including Performance Tables, RAISEonline, Fisher Family Trust and internal data.

There is some very useful information available to support leaders in analysing their data to impact on pupil achievement. Many schools are able to demonstrate that they use data to focus on the needs of individuals and groups more effectively. You may find the document Narrowing the Gaps: from data analysis to impact – the golden thread useful.

Review your documentation
Ask a member of your Senior Leadership Team to review your file with you.

What data is available in school? Do you have access to all of it? If not, ask.
Check through and discard any data held unnecessarily, i.e. held for longer than 5 years or for pupils who have left the school.
Does the data that you hold enable you to answer these questions?

  • the current attainment of a particular pupil
  • the progress made by a particular pupil
  • the target grade/levels of each pupil for the end of the year or Key Stage
  • whether or not a student is performing above or below expectations.

What would be useful to add to your Maths Subject Leader file?

Top Tips in Using Data
The primary purpose of the use of data in schools is to improve individual pupil development. Of course it is used by external bodies to evaluate progress, but it can also play an important part in informing daily classroom practice.

  • how have you made best use of the prior attainment data for all pupils when they transfer to your school or class?
  • how do you use your regular pupil tracking information to help pupils make faster progress?
  • how do you ensure that the activities that take place are planned and purposeful? Are they effective? How do you know?
  • what data do you need to collect and analyse in order to inform your vision and strategy? How does it impact on pupils' learning experiences?
  • are there frequent updates for parents and a clear process for how parents can become more engaged in their children's learning?
  • how are pupils involved with the data that is collected? How do you make it relevant and useful for them? 

Activity: Are we making the most of our data?
Ask staff to bring their pupil data for maths to a staff meeting.
Ask them to look at the data they have and how they use it. 
What questions does your data raise? Work with a colleague to find answers to your questions.
Are there some examples of what is useful that can be shared?
Does it show how the pupils in each class are progressing? Is this consistent across the school? 
Does it show what strategies are already in place to support pupils ‘at risk’ of underachieving?
How often do you review the data – is it often enough to pick up students who are beginning to underachieve?
Consider how you can improve your tracking records.

Identifying problems and doing something about it
When the data indicates that some students are not making the progress that might have been expected of them discuss with a senior leader to decide whether the problem is:

  • specific to an individual child
  • specific to a teacher(s) within the school
  • specific to the whole school
  • specific to a year group, gender group or ethnic group.

When you’ve isolated the problem identify strategies of support or interventions that address the specific issue.

Record your thoughts on data in your Personal Learning Space.

Activity: Moderation across the school

How do we know we are making similar judgements?

Which of the following might be useful to check that all teachers are making similar judgements?

  • a scrutiny of work done during a two-week topic agreeing together the level attained by particular children
  • double marking a test piece of work followed by discussion of discrepancies
  • discussion of the level shown in portfolios of work produced by a selection of children over time.

Consider how you can be as sure as possible that everyone has a similar notion of what constitutes each level of attainment.

Using all the data available to you, including that from lesson observations, pupil interviews, previous action plans and so on, answer the following questions:

  • where are you now?
  • what needs improving?
  • what practices and systems need changing?
  • where will you start?

Review your Action Plan to move from where you are now to where you want to be.
Refer to Action plan section first.

Record your findings.


Who supports the Mathematics Subject Leader?
  • Consider consulting the following for support:
  • often, the children can identify how you could support them to improve
  • consult with other Mathematics Subject Leaders - they may have ideas about improvements that work well in their school
  • the Subject Leader’s Line Manager should be able to support the Subject Leader in improving areas of weakness
  • ask other schools - if you discover a similar school to you is performing much better in terms of attainment then make arrangements to visit them and find out what they are doing.
  • ask the parents - make arrangements to invite parents to school as a group to discuss how both parents and the school might help their child to improve attainment levels
  • ask your coach – many schools recognise the complexities of leading Mathematics and offer coaching sessions to support Maths Subject Leaders.

For more on this aspect, refer to Module 4 - Leading CPD.





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