Teach Maths. We need great Maths teachers right now!


It’s been an interesting period for maths and maths teachers.

Let’s call it the Quadratic Period as it’s all about variables! Look, we did our best!

Tess Maths - Twitter 

This week has seen criticism of northern schools by Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector of Schools. The sound bit that created much furor was this:

The Northern Powerhouse will splutter and die if their youngsters lack the skills to sustain it.’

No matter where you were in the UK the response was resounding. There was blame cast as government policy that was setting back initiatives. Professor Alan Dyson stated that stating the obvious wasn’t helpful especially as no attempt was being made to analyse the data regarding the reasons for outcomes that might be deemed low. The debate rumbles on. We just hope that it encourages those considering training to be maths, science and English teachers are inspired to make a real difference and change the perceptions through passionate, exciting and creative teaching.

On the other hand debate has continued about ways to make teaching more attractive to new entrants. The interesting thread that developed on the Maths Scholars twitter feed changed tack slightly. Borrowing ideas from marketing and commerce teachers wondered whether spending money to retain teachers was a better option. After all it’s much cheaper and more profitable to upsell to existing customers than pay to look for new ones.

Back in October 2015 the Daily Telegraph ran a piece about the number of people that quit teaching. The sensational opening to the piece was that over 50% of teachers were planning to quit teaching as a consequence of low morale and workload. However that does not take into consideration all the factors regarding age and even what point in the day, week, term the survey was completed etc. 1 in 10 people think morale has improved but two thirds feel it’s declined. According to a survey undertaken by YouGov.

The worrying sound bite, however could be taken from government stats analysis by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL),. They suggest almost four in 10 teachers quit the profession within a year of qualifying. Bearing in mind the increase in prospective pupil numbers this does not add up to a satisfactory situation.

But Nick Gibb, the schools minister, commented that teaching was still “hugely popular profession” with record numbers joining.

“The latest available figures also demonstrate former teachers returning to classrooms continuing to rise annually – from 14,720 in 2011 to 17,350 in 2014,”

Twitter commentators said:

Andy Lutwyche - Twitter 

John Scattergood 

Andy Lutwyche - Twitter 

But on the other hand this week saw the formal release of Count Us In How to Make Maths Real for all of us. The Maths Scholars Scheme wrote about it a few weeks back. Catch our interview with Gareth Ffowc Roberts here.

Gareth Ffowc Roberts - Twitter 

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One great resource we found this week was from The Further Mathematics Support Programmer. They have cleverly put together some great podcasts that take the wind out of people’s sails when they say: ‘So what good does maths actually do?!’ Here are 20 podcasts that cover all bases. Do take a listen. We’d be interested to know your thoughts. You can subscribe to the podcast via i-tunes.

Episode List 

On a final note for this week see Sir Michael Wilshaw’s ambitions for education and see what you think.

Have a great weekend!