This secondary/primary phase collaboration is led by Langley Park School for Boys (also known as LPBS) and has been running for 3 years. It is funded through the LPBS specialism budget. It provides primary teachers with support in mathematics content knowledge and effective teaching of mathematic, as well as facilitating the transition of students from primary to secondary. The link co-ordinator works with each primary school on an individual basis as well as organising twilight sessions and an annual conference in which all partner institutions are involved.
Langley Park School for Boys is a specialist mathematics and computing school in the London borough of Bromley. The school’s website gives an insight into its ethos: ‘We combine academic excellence with a wide range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities. Our students frequently achieve national distinction in sport. Music, drama and art flourish also alongside an extensive programme of opportunities outside the classroom, including outdoor challenges, exchange visits and holiday trips.’ The school has had specialist mathematics status since 2004, and following an ‘outstanding’ report in 2006 from Ofsted, the school successfully applied for a second specialism as a Training School. The mathematics department has an excellent team approach, with mathematics expertise drawn from a combination of experienced teachers and new talent.
LPBS works with the numeracy co-ordinators of 8 schools in the London Borough of Bromley, 7 primaries and one special school.
- Balgowan Primary School
- Burnt Ash Primary School
- Highfield Junior School
- Langley Park School for Boys
- Marian Vian Primary School
- Marjorie McClure School (Special School)
- Oak Lodge Primary School
- Pickhurst Junior School
- Unicorn Primary School
Most of these are feeder schools for LPBS
LPBS focused their energy as a specialist maths and training school on working with local primary schools as many primary teachers are not mathematics specialists. LPBS also wanted to improve their understanding of the primary curriculum and the teaching and learning approaches used by primary teachers with a view to improving the transition for pupils.
The main aim is to provide a forum for the sharing of ideas and expertise in teaching mathematics, a forum that offers the space and time to reflect upon current and future practice and to discuss of issues arising from the National Curriculum, National Framework, and revisions thereof, and discussions of government papers.
Leadership and management structure within the lead institution and partnership
The action plan for the specialism and the approach to working in partnership is embedded in the school development plan. LPBS has used its specialism budget to fund a link teacher, Maureen Smith, to work with the partner schools. Maureen provides support for each individual school as well as arranging twilight sessions and an annual conference at which the partner schools come together. The link teacher reports to the head of specialism and head of mathematics at LPBS.
Development Activities and their impact
The link teacher spends half a day per week in each primary school working alongside the numeracy co-ordinator, teachers and pupils. The programme for the year is negotiated with the Headteacher and year 6 teachers. This is based on mathematical areas for development or intervention and target groups such as: under achievers, gifted and talented, and those who are borderline e.g. level 3 to 4 in Y6. Children from years 4, 5 and 6 are selected by the class teacher and topics are negotiated as the year progresses. Emphasis is placed on the use and application of mathematics through puzzles, problem solving, enrichment and modelling. The partnership also provides opportunities for KS2 colleagues to visit LPBS and become involved in KS3 mathematics lessons, whilst trainee secondary teachers from LPBS can visit KS2 lessons.
As well as providing support on a weekly basis to individual schools, LPBS has organised three annual day conferences and two twilight sessions per year. The agenda for these sessions is jointly negotiated between the link teacher and the primary partners. The twilight sessions encourage KS2 colleagues to extend their mathematics and enjoy different contexts/aspects of the subject, as well as gaining insight into how KS2 mathematics is developed into the secondary curriculum.
The annual conference provides time and opportunity for professionals to develop their expertise and communicate it to others in a suitably active forum. Ownership of the day is put in the hands of the participants by asking them to decide the agenda for themselves. Sessions are facilitated by staff from LPBS and are interactive, with everybody contributing from their own experience, discussing and exchanging ideas on how they have taught a particular topic or introduced a new approach. Some activities have involved exploring ‘Nrich, mapping the primary resources to the national curriculum as well as exploring the NCETM Primary Magazine.
LPBS also researches resources, ‘hot topics’ in mathematics teaching, and changes in the national mathematics agenda. For example, the recent annual conference included a workshop on the change in the national curriculum framework topic of ‘money’. Other workshops have focused on ‘helping children who are significantly below age related expectations’ and ‘activities being developed for assessing pupils using APP’.
Evaluations from the conference and twilight sessions (as well as from primary Headteachers) show that these sessions then impact upon the learning and teaching in their own schools. Participants like the format where they agree the agenda and contribute their experience and ideas. They are enthusiastic and build links with each other. They have time for discussion, and all delegates have their issue raised and aired by fellow professionals. Co-operation has led to smoother transfer from primary to secondary schools; it has improved channels of communication between the two phases; and it has given members of every school insight into the workings of each others’ institutions. Mathematics teachers from both primary and secondary sectors are more aware of each other’s approaches to teaching particular topics. Secondary teachers are more aware of how pupils have been taught in primary and can build on this.
The conference allows for a free exchange of ideas and teaching strategies, which the numeracy co-ordinators then take back to the own institutions. Twilight sessions are open to all teachers and TAs in all partner schools.
Sustainability and funding
Any future collaboration is dependent upon the continuation of Specialist School funding. LPBS constantly review the list of partners and is flexible enough to change linked schools as the need arises.
Key Influential factors
- Specialist mathematics school with experienced mathematics team
- Link teacher post funded by specialism budget
- Action plan embedded in school development plan
- Varied CPD opportunities - weekly support provided to individual primary schools as well as twilight and annual conference bringing together all the partners
- Builds on the wealth of experience and know-how within LPBS mathematics department as well as the primary school partners
- Agendas for all activities/CPD negotiated with all partners
- Mutual benefit for primary and secondary phases - exchange of ideas and experience not one way
For further information contact:
Graham Winter email@example.com