Review of Frameworks
Teachers are too concerned with ensuring coverage of the objectives in the Framework for a year group, rather than establishing key concepts to make progress in mathematical understanding.
Mathematics is far too valuable a discipline and too elegant a subject for it to be reduced to functionality, either for all or for a particular group of learners.
Functional mathematics must help young people to become mathematically literate: inclusive and enabling. We must ensure it does not become focused on a minimal list of skills assessed in artificial contexts, which would be restrictive, demotivating and unhelpful.
Tomlinson 14-19 Reform
The flexible pathways recommended by both Smith and Tomlinson, together with more emphasis on teacher assessment are likely to lead to a demand for a larger pool of well qualified mathematics teachers.
Our views were sought on the whole range of qualifications in mathematics available post-16. ATM felt that no new qualifications are needed.
Teachers who engage with mathematics and not solely with its algorithmic application are in a stronger position to inspire and develop the learner because their teaching is rooted in a joy of a subject that is untainted by any sense of utility or concern with application.
Shortage of maths teachers
An un-inspired and un-supported teacher cannot be expected to inspire and support learners. An inspired but un-supported teacher burns out and leaves. The most common reason for leaving the profession is the workload resulting from government initiatives.
Is Maths harder than English?
One observation is that in English, girls do better than boys. Is this because maths becomes less appealing to girls the older they get? Why do so relatively few girls take maths beyond GCSE when their performance at GCSE is equal to that of boys?
The more children are tested and graded the less motivated they become. We need to foster the kind of teaching in mathematics, as a result of which learners enjoy mathematics, understand its power, want to know more about it and, above all, feel confident about their ability to do mathematics.
We believe in a coherent 14-19 phase that offers choices through flexible pathways. Progress should be assessed throughout the phase by means of external tests, teacher assessment and a portfolio of evidence, leading to a single award which recognises all their achievements.