Friday Update – 27 February 2015

This week I highlight the second phase of the Shanghai Maths Teacher Exchange and a new scheme to boost middle management in challenging schools.

Back in July last year I reported that the North Tyneside Learning Trust was confirmed as 1 of 32 schools and academy trusts leading new Maths hubs across England funded by the Department for Education, and co-ordinated by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

In November 2 primary school teachers from Shanghai visited North Tyneside for a three week period teaching maths at Benton Dene Primary School. A second group of Shanghai’s top teachers arrive in England this week to share their world-class approach to maths teaching and help further raise standards in the subject.

English teachers are reporting that techniques introduced by their Shanghai colleagues – such as spending longer on topics before moving on and ‘teaching to the top’ through whole-class teaching – have already had a positive impact in their schools. The exchange has encouraged teachers to change the way they approach lesson planning to develop a deep understanding and fluency in mathematics.

A further phase of the exchange is set to take place in the autumn and spring terms of the 2015 – 2016 academic year focusing on secondary maths teaching.

Schools Minister David Laws announced yesterday that 100 exceptional middle leaders will be placed in some of the most challenging schools across England in a move to raise standards and improve the quality of teaching and subject leadership.

The secondment programme will invite up to 100 ‘outstanding’ middle leaders – such as heads of department, subject or year group heads to apply to spend a year in underperforming schools, including those in deprived, coastal and rural areas. The 1 year scheme will enable schools which face some of the greatest challenges to benefit from the skills, expertise and knowledge of strong middle leadership to help raise attainment. It will also provide an important professional development opportunity for participants with a view to training the excellent school leaders of the future.