New concepts to secure mastery of maths

New teaching concepts have been brought to the region as part of an exchange programme under way to secure mastery of maths.

Shanghai teachers visit Northstead School in Scarborough . Teachers Lu Yong and Chen Jiajun do some class work with pupils Noah Simpson and Ruth Davis. pic Richard Ponter

The scheme, first launched in 2016 as part of a £41m programme, sees teachers from England and Shanghai share best practice as part of research groups.

Two teachers from Yorkshire, Scarborough’s Matthew Davies from Northstead Primary, and Harrogate’s Emily Crankshaw, from St Peter’s, were among 86 teachers chosen to travel to Shanghai.

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Now two teachers from Shanghai are hosting lessons in Yorkshire, exploring new ways of working with children to develop mastery of maths.

“This is about sharing good practice,” said Mr Davies, head of maths at Northstead. “Particularly around teaching for mastery, teaching smaller steps and in greater depth.

“Through observing Shanghai teachers who have been teaching in this way for decades, we can share those opportunities.

“This strips the maths concepts right back to the very beginning. We can take the principles and look at how they can work in the curriculum in the UK.”

Sharing the way the Shanghai teachers work, by encouraging absolute mastery of small ideas rather than attempting to cover a broad range, can have an impact on children’s ability to absorb information, adds Mr Davies.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “With such small steps, every child can take part in the lesson. To see the way they work is incredible.”

Teachers from primary schools across Yorkshire are taking part in the research groups, with 18 attending sessions on Thursday and nearly 100 more to take part tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Maths Hub focus, now in its fifth year, is part of a broader Teaching for Mastery programme, run by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and funded by the DfE.