Experts share insights into maths teaching

Two secondary school students in uniform facing a whiteboard with algebra equations written on it

Lynne McClure, Director of Cambridge Mathematics, and Sylke Scheiner, Director of Assessment at OCR, both spoke at a Westminster Education Forum (WEF) which focussed on  Maths teaching in England - qualification reform, teacher recruitment and retention, and the impact of the new Ofsted inspection framework.

WEF, which also heard from Andreas Schleicher, the man behind the think tank OECD’s influential PISA tests, is supported by OCR as a core sponsor. The event was chaired by Claire Coutinho MP and Baroness Garden of Frognal.

Lynne’s keynote speech focused on those who do not achieve a Grade 4 or above in GCSE Mathematics at age 16. She called for consideration to be given to a ‘stepping-stone’ qualification taken before GCSE which would give all students a grounding in essential maths.

“For me the outcome of a successful maths education strategy would result in citizens who can engage mathematically with the world to their own and the nation’s benefit,” she said.

“More of whom, because they can see the point of it, may choose to continue to study maths, meaning that we would begin to plug the STEM shortage”.

Sylke’s wide-ranging talk covered how the recent reforms in GCSE (9-1) Maths have affected students going on to A Level Maths qualifications, the take up of Core Maths and finally the scope for alternatives to GCSE, for those students who do not achieve a Grade 4 or above at age 16.

She told the Forum that OCR had focused a lot of efforts in recent years on accessibility. 

“This is something we are incredibly passionate about,” she said. “We have put lots of effort and research into determining the factors that influence how students access the content of a question paper, enabling us to produce materials that students can most easily understand.”