Call for national guidelines for maths teacher development


The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) has called on the Department of Education (DfE) to compile and promote national guidelines for the provision of career-long professional development for mathematics teachers in the UK.

The call comes as part of a new report, which stresses the importance of good and coherent continuing professional development for teachers.

Teachers who are professional learners themselves are the most likely to provide students with high quality mathematics teaching. The report proposes that DfE should work with its agencies and advisors to compile guidelines for all teachers of mathematics for use by Government, senior leaders, heads of department, mathematics subject leaders and governors.

The report calls on the Government to increase the number of highly qualified, motivated, expert teachers to ensure that all students are able to study mathematics to the age of 18.

Professor Stephen Sparks, Chair of ACME, said: “It’s clear that a good mathematics education is vital for individuals as well as wider society. Given the growth in the numbers of primary school children, concerns about the subject expertise of Key Stage 3 (KS3) teachers and the Government’s ambitious goals for post-16 mathematics participation, there is an urgent need to increase the number of well-qualified teachers of mathematics in schools and colleges.

“The UK already has some of the best and most dedicated mathematics teachers. We now need to make sure that they are properly supported throughout their careers to meet the Government’s objectives and provide the best possible education for students.”

The report also recommends among other things:

  • The DfE should commission a comprehensive, cross-phase analysis of the mathematical needs of all those who teach mathematics.
  • The DfE and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) should establish, with financial support from other organisations, a programme of targeted support for mathematics specific professional development.
  • The widespread adoption of a quality-assured kite-mark, based on the NCETM CPD Quality Standard, for paid-for mathematics-specific professional development activities which should be encouraged as part of the national professional development guidelines.
Professional Development Today