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Professional development opportunities for mathematics teachers in Post-16 colleges

Created on 27 April 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 17 September 2015 by ncetm_administrator



Success for All was launched in autumn 2002 with two of its chief aims as ‘putting teaching and learning at the heart of all we do’ and ‘developing leaders, teachers, trainers and support staff of the future’.  Mathematics was one of the priority areas for phase 2.  During 2003 – 2005, the Mathematics Standards Unit wrote, developed, piloted and trialled the approaches and activities which are exemplified in the substantial resource Improving learning in mathematics. This covers GCSE to A level along with professional development sessions. 

The work of the Mathematics Standards Unit was founded on the research of Malcolm Swan of Nottingham University and the work of Susan Wall, then Head of Maths at Wilberforce College in Hull.  From spring 2005 the approaches and activities were disseminated through a series of road shows around England and then through the LSN Subject Learning Coaches Programme. 

In 2005, each college was also sent two copies of Improving learning in mathematics. Since 2005, teachers have been able to attend termly network meetings held in the nine regions. These network meetings are currently supported by the LSIS STEM programme and led by the NCETM.

Professional development opportunities for mathematics teachers in Post-16 colleges


Ofsted's (2006 and 2010) surveys of CPD in schools have identified the organisational factors that underpin effective CPD and lead to improvements in teaching, learning and standards. Attention to these factors is also important in learning and skills sector

Ofsted found that CPD is effective when:
  • senior leaders are strongly committed to developing their staff
  • there is a close alignment of professional development with performance management, institutional self-review and priorities for improvement;
  • time, resources and expertise are used flexibly
  • individual and institutional needs are successfully balanced

reportThe case studies have been chosen to showcase good practice in colleges judged to be outstanding in recent Ofsted inspections.


report The project reports each chose to focus on just one of the themes from the Mathematics Matters Report.

 Download the full report 

In 2007 as part of the NRDC Maths4Life project, Thinking Through Mathematics was published for teachers working with adult learners from Entry to Level 2 following the same principles as 'Improving learning in mathematics' and these approaches were reiterated and expanded in the Mathematics Matters report published by the NCETM in 2007. Since then further materials to support mathematics teaching and learning and CPD in further education have been produced and are available here on the NCETM and via the Excellence Gateway.

Despite the wide range of material freely available to colleges, many mathematics teachers still remain unaware of the approaches and resources exemplified in Improving learning in mathematics and have little or no access to subject specific CPD.

During 2010 the NCETM has been exploring good practice in mathematics teacher CPD and how colleges are working to improve mathematics teaching and learning. They have also funded 12 projects offering CPD opportunities to mathematics teachers in post-16 colleges. This report summarises the case studies of good practice that have been collected and the impact of the CPD projects.


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