In January 2018 the Nottingham Education Partners, led by the Transform Trust, were awarded a £525 150 bid to plan, develop and deliver a year-long large-scale mathematical professional development programme targeting whole-school improvement for 40 inner-city Nottingham schools (34 primary and 6 secondary schools).
The primary aim of the programme was to drive improvements in mathematics attainment in involved schools, with specific focus on the performance of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Involved schools were selected on the basis of 2016 end-of-KS2 and KS4 attainment results, with low attainment and high numbers of children on roll from disadvantaged communities serving as primary eligibility criteria.
The project ran for a full year, from March 2018 to the end of March 2019, and afforded 468 teachers, teaching assistants, and mentors from inner-city schools in poor socio-economic areas access to high-quality professional development on a range of topics targeting improved experiences in mathematics lessons. A comprehensive whole-school audit, supported by the professional development offerings and followed up by in-school specialist support, ensured a rigorous whole school improvement approach for long-term sustainable change. The project also supported a significant investment (£90 000) to bolster the intervention activities and strategies of involved secondary schools. A comprehensive evaluation of the project by the University of Nottingham has ensured rigorous analysis of impact on teacher’s practices, children’s outcomes, and leadership efficacy.
‘Making Every Person Count in Maths’ – A Whole-School Maths Improvement Strategy
Inspired by the philosophy that every member of the school community (including school leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, tutors, parents and children themselves) has a responsibility to support children’s attainment and positive experiences in mathematics, the ‘Making Every Person Count in Maths’ approach targeted a research-informed whole-school mathematics improvement strategy. Three broad priority levels underpinned this strategy:
- Leadership level→Dedicated support for school leaders to ensure that schools are able to deliver on strategic and sustainable improvements activities
- Teaching and in-class support level→ Dedicated focus on improving the specialist content and pedagogical knowledge of all adults involved in the delivery of mathematics teaching and learning activities, including specialist mathematics teachers, non-specialists teaching mathematics, and learning support assistants (including teaching assistants and tutors).
- Child level→ Dedicated activities for improving children’s attitudes towards mathematics and supporting children to become independent and reflective learners.
These priority levels are captured in the following improvement framework for the project: