The Education Endowment Foundation Funding Realistic Mathematics Education

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has funded a Manchester Metropolitan University team with several years’ experience of designing and developing Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) approaches to create a framework to enhance performance in Key Stage 3 which:

• Enables students to develop mastery in mathematics

• Encourages students to develop a variety of strategies for problem-solving

• Supports the development of a deep conceptual understanding

• Provides teachers with materials and guidance for use in both mixed and set groups

What’s RME?

RME works on the premise that students who understand how mathematics relates to the everyday world are more able to think for themselves and use their knowledge to solve novel problems. RME prioritises the use of context and model-building to engage and motivate students, enabling them to visualise mathematical processes and most importantly, make sense of what they are doing. ‘The fun run’ is an example of a starting context. Students are encouraged to share their own experiences of running and to draw a representation of a race.

How far has the framework got?

The EEF and MMU team are now looking for 120 schools to take part in this 2-year trial, beginning with students in Year 7 and following them through to Year 8. The aim is to evaluate how successful this approach is in improving students’ attainment by comparing RME and ‘business as usual’ teaching.

How will the school benefit from joining the trial?

Two teachers will be supported to learn how to use RME to develop ways of mediating between students’ own representations of particular contexts and more generalisable models such as the bar model, which still make sense in terms of the context of the race, but can also be used to answer problems across a wide range of topic areas.

Working with the RME framework is a unique opportunity to raise student attainment, engagement and understanding in mathematics. All the lesson materials and teacher guides have been written by the MMU team, and have been tailored to support both set and mixed ability teaching. Specifically, teachers will be offered:

• An eight day course: teachers would attend 8 training days between October 2018 and April 2020, allowing time between sessions to work with the RME materials and to work together to evaluate their practice in a lesson study approach.

• Materials and scheme of work guidance for Years 7 and 8: teachers will be provided with teacher guides and supporting materials (PowerPoints, worksheets) which will enable them to immerse their classes in 5 two-week blocks of RME in each of Years 7 and 8.

• Access to online resources: teachers will have access to a dedicated website in order to support them in lesson study and the use of materials, all available in electronic form.

Is the school guaranteed to be selected?

No, at this stage the team are looking for those who are interested in participating. Schools invited to participate will be randomly split into a control “comparison” group and another using RME. The control group will receive a cash payment of £1,000 once the evaluation is complete, whilst those schools using RME will have the training and support.

Interested to find out more?

If you are keen to participate in this important study then register interest by contacting the team – Sue Hough, Steve Gough and Yvette Solomon - at