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Schools working together - Working together: identifying priorities

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 05 August 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 27 September 2011 by ncetm_administrator

Schools working together - Primary

Working together: identifying priorities


Key Idea:

Working together to focus on principles behind the issues can help to maintain perspective and stop the improvement plan being reduced to a set of actions to implement rather than something you are working on together to develop


It is important to avoid the improvement plan turning into a long and unwieldy ‘tick list’ of jobs. The following activities have been designed to explore different ways to work with a school to identify key priorities in a sustainable and developmental way

Of course, the school may already have an established list of priorities as part of its mathematics development plan.

Reflection iconReflective Activity 8 – Excellence in Mathematics Leadership

The full suite of NCETM Excellence in Mathematics Leadership (EiML) materials offers a significant amount of support and professional development material for all subject leaders.

You might find it helpful to consider the Key Elements first.

Excellence in Mathematics Leadership

For example, you could sit down with the subject leader and use this ‘map’ of key elements to get a sense of the range of things that might need considering. Decide which elements are most important (based on previous self-evaluation), ‘clear the decks’ and focus on one or two things rather than become overwhelmed by too many tasks.

Reflection iconReflective Activity 9 – The Self-Evaluation Tool

If you are not familiar with using the resources you can watch a video about them or read about the tools.

The NCETM Self-Evaluation Tool offers a resource for developing teachers’ subject knowledge and understanding.

Although the “self-evaluation” aspect of the tool may suggest individual teachers working on it, many teachers have found it an invaluable resource to work on in a collaborative way:

  • By using the “example” box to the side of each of the self-evaluation questions, colleagues can discuss definitions and approaches, learn some mathematics together and collect some useful teaching ideas;
  • By clicking “Save and Results” at the end of each set of questions and the “Next Steps” for a particular aspect of subject knowledge, colleagues can explore the sections “What this might look like in the classroom”, “Taking the mathematics further” and “Making Connections” for areas they are not confident about;
  • By following the “Links” section in “Next Steps” colleagues can gain access to other related resources both in on the NCETM portal and elsewhere on the internet;
  • Some have found that it is worthwhile simply to rate themselves at ‘not confident’ at everything! This then provides access to all the next steps and other links which are a rich source of professional development material for any teacher.

Consider how you might use the Self-Evaluation Tools as a stimulus for identifying some priorities for development with a staff.

N.B. Here are some SET Case Studies outlining how colleagues have used the SET while working with other schools.

Here are other case studies of how colleagues have used the SET.

Reflection iconReflective Activity 10 – Identifying Priorities

This set of Priority Cards has been designed to offer a collaborative way of beginning the conversation amongst staff about deciding on priorities for development. You may like to do this with the subject leader first.

  • Sort the cards into ‘teaching and learning’ issues and ‘management and organisation’ issues
  • Group the cards so that each group is an example of a bigger principle that the staff might focus on
  • Group the cards into short term and long term priorities
  • Are there any cards that are always together?
  • Are there cards that you want to write (using the blanks) and add to the group?
These cards can be used to scaffold the writing of an action plan by, for example, ranking them in order to form the ‘actions’ or ‘objectives’. A blank version (Word) of the action plan is also available.




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