Focus of the Month January 2016 Maths Teacher ?· 1 of 4 AE 23/12/15 Version 1.2 . Focus of the Month…

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    AE 23/12/15 Version 1.2

    Focus of the Month January 2016

    Maths Teacher Shortages This month we are focusing on the big issue - the shortage of maths teachers. Maths teachers are in demand. Many secondary schools and colleges are experiencing difficulty in recruiting and retaining them. In the short term this recruitment crisis doesnt look set to ease given that the target number of training places for maths teachers were not filled this year. What can you do if you are facing this issue?

    Recruitment Get ahead Advertise now, in January, and call promising candidates for interview before the closing date, making clear that this is the schools practice. Form relationships with several ITT providers; identify early those trainees who have potential and offer posts as soon as you can. Target your advertising When advertising, target towns and cities that are within reasonable commuting distances. Sell yourself Describe the benefits of joining your school/college: your vision for maths teaching and learning; the schools or colleges ethos; and, importantly, the opportunity for teachers to make a difference. Scrutinise your marketing and recruitment materials: What are the first few lines that potential candidates will read in your advert? Do they stand out? Do they portray something exciting and special about the post, or does it just essentially say we want a teacher?

    Mathematics is the 2nd most difficult subject (after Physics) for schools to recruit for in 2015

    TES Teacher Recruitment Index Easter 2015 Data

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    Look at the information you send to potential applicants? Does it give prospective teachers a good sense of your department - how you operate and your enthusiasm for maths? This will be more effective at engaging potential candidates than generic information that could relate to any subject. Make it clear in the job advert, and in your recruitment package, that your school is serious about developing teachers. Describe the range of subject-specific professional development opportunities that will be offered to the successful candidate. For example, depending on recent teaching experience, consider MEIs extended courses on teaching GCSE, A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics. Encourage potential If you can, offer financial incentives, training and/or promotion opportunities for non-specialists (but excellent teachers) to teach maths. You might also mention the Subject Knowledge Enhancement grants and courses. Are you able to host a School Experience Day? This may help you to get to know local people who are considering a career in teaching and may encourage them to apply to your school in the future. Offer classroom experience to interested parents and other local suitably qualified adults to show them the benefits of teaching. Explain that there are generous financial incentives to attract new people into teaching maths. Is there an opportunity to train current teaching assistants to take on a higher level of responsibility or become maths teachers? This Guardian article provides some case studies of TAs who have done just that. Select the right candidate Some things to look for during interview: Candidates should be required to teach a whole lesson. Can they subsequently

    describe the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson? Do they have a passion for maths? Tell us about a piece of maths which

    delights you. Have they reflected on teaching for understanding? How would you explain

    why when we divide one fraction by another we turn the second fraction upside down and multiply?

    Have they reflected on student difficulties? Why do many students find fractions hard?

    Be strategic If you have a number of good candidates, consider overstaffing in maths and subsequently look to offer additional qualifications such as Core Maths. For appointments to other subjects, take into consideration candidates who can offer maths as a second subject, or those who are open to professional development to support them in teaching some maths.

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    Coping with a current shortage Minimise the impact on students Staffing turbulence causes major issues with classes having several teachers in a year. Keep a record of which classes have had temporary or non-specialist teachers and seek to a smooth out student experiences over time. Work effectively Well-written schemes of work, including timelines, alternative strategies, links to real situations, and so on, are critical in ameliorating these changes. Get in touch with your local Maths Hub to ask if they will share an effective scheme of work. Try pairing up non-specialists with specialists. This can take the form of sharing classes, with the lead practitioners teaching the introduction to topics; doubling up classes; or teaching similar groups, and having several staff in attendance. All of these can be particularly helpful in providing reassurance in terms of planning, pace and progression, common testing and moderation. Make the most of your resources Consider training cover supervisors or teaching assistants to supervise lessons where the class is using online resources which are specially written for students. Use tests, mocks and end of year examinations as shared opportunities for moderation of marking (new, inexperienced or non-specialist teachers need guidance on determining standards and the intricacies of marking schemes). Local advisers and other schools in the area may be able to provide support with this. Exam boards can also often be prevailed upon to provide input on this. Look to the support offered by the FMSP, such as student tuition and Live Interactive Lectures, to allow the maths staffing to be used with larger groups at KS3 and KS4.

    In the most effective schools, skilled experienced staff developed the less experienced and supported the non-specialist, thereby building the departments future capacity. However, where departments were stretched and not fully staffed by specialists, and under pressure to raise GCSE results, building for the longer-term took second place. The recommendation in the previous report that mathematics departments have time to plan and work together had been adopted in only a few of the schools visited.

    Ofsted, Mathematics: Made to Measure, (2012), (Paragraph 142)

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    Retaining your maths teachers Develop a positive environment Build a department with an atmosphere of enthusiasm and interest about maths and in which the quality of students learning is regularly discussed. Ensure all staff understand their potential role in influencing the ethos of the school, and encourage them to understand and promote the importance of maths. Allow teachers the time to take students to events such as FMSP enrichment and Maths Inspiration. This can build an interesting and vibrant mathematical culture that will attract good teachers who want to enrich their students mathematical experience. Provide development opportunities Enable all maths teachers have access to recognised high quality subject specific professional development. Consider providing time for them to become exam markers. Allow experienced teachers time and funding to work with MEI to develop in-house professional development, and support them in becoming leaders of professional development through the NCETMs PD Lead Support Programme and PD Lead Development and Accreditation Programme. Create managerial opportunities such as mentoring ITT, overseeing numeracy in other subjects, coordinating UKMT maths challenges and primary liaison. Offer leadership training to suitable colleagues. Provide staff with opportunities to develop their professionalism, for example by attending conferences such as the MEI Annual conference. Make the most of the support available Engage with the organisations that support maths education. For example, register as an MEI Educational Associate, and with the NCETM. The FMSP now provided lots of free and low cost CPD for KS4 as well as KS5, and all schools and colleges can register to receive regular updates. Acknowledgement We are grateful to Sue and Keith Gould for their input to this article.