AN innovative maths initiative, which draws on expertise from across the world, is helping hundreds of children in the North of England master their numbers.
Experts from Shanghai have been working with staff and children from Archimedes NE Maths Hub in an annual teacher exchange designed to improve numeracy.
Scores of teachers met at Carmel College, Darlington and in Durham to hear the latest developments in how maths can best be taught so that pupils learn more deeply and retain their knowledge for longer.
Teachers at secondary and primary mastery showcase events, where they watched a Shanghai teacher work with a local class of pupils, heard that the project was having a massive impact on children’s abilities, particularly around their mathematical knowledge, vocabulary and confidence.
Maths Hub lead Rose-Marie Rochester said: “Most schools tell us that standards have improved since they have been working with the hub and some, who have changed their practices and worked closely with Mastery Specialists, have gone from Ofsted grades ‘requiring improvement’ to ‘outstanding’, in part thanks to the initiative.”
At the Carmel College showcase, Year 7 children from St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School for Boys, Newcastle, took part in a lesson workshop staged by Shanghai teachers Yolanda Qiao Yue and Chou Weiting Zhou, under the watchful gaze of Shanghai University professor Xingfeng Huang.
Teachers, heads of department and heads from Darlington and County Durham, North Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyneside, Sunderland and Cumbria, along with DfE delegates, then took part in discussion sessions after hearing from English exchange teachers Nadine Ford and Dominic Cullen on their experiences of Shanghai.
Mrs Ford said: “Student behaviour is very good because they value their education and there is strong parental support. They have maths specialists right the way through.”
Mr Cullen added: “Teachers only teach one year group and move up with them. Homework is a major part of their assessment in every lesson and the workload is heavy. Every lesson starts and finishes with a recap session led by the students.”
Professor Huang said: “The exchange programme works very well. Our teachers learn a great deal from the UK system while the British colleagues can learn from Shanghai techniques and together we increase our understanding of teaching maths.”