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    Research report

    Edited by Professor David Burghes

    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning

  • The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of CfBT Education Trust.

    © Copyright CfBT Education Trust 2012

    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning

    Welcome to CfBT Education Trust

    CfBT Education Trust is a top 30 charity providing education services for public benefit in the UK and internationally. Established over 40 years ago, CfBT Education Trust now has an annual turnover exceeding £100 million and employs 2,300 staff worldwide who support educational reform, teach, advise, research and train.

    Since we were founded, we have worked in more than 40 countries around the world. Our work involves teacher and leadership training, curriculum design and school improvement services. The majority of staff provide services direct to learners: in nurseries, schools and academies; through projects for excluded pupils; in young offender institutions; and in advice and guidance centres for young people.

    We have worked successfully to implement reform programmes for governments throughout the world. Government clients in the UK include the Department for Education (DfE), the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) and local authorities. Internationally, we work with education ministries in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Brunei among many others.

    Surpluses generated by our operations are reinvested in educational research and development. Our research programme, Evidence for Education, aims to improve educational practice on the ground and widen access to research in the UK and overseas.

    Visit www.cfbt.com for more information.

    Welcome to the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT)

    CIMT is a self-financing centre in the Faculty of Education at Plymouth University. It was set up some 25 years ago, initially at the University of Exeter, with a research and development focus, aiming to support and help teachers of mathematics to implement good practice, based on international work.

    It moved to the University of Plymouth in July 2005, and has since been joined at the Faculty of Education by the Royal Statistical Society’s Centre for Statistical Education. The two centres are co-located to provide a thriving, innovative and enterprising facility for pedagogical research and development in the mathematical sciences.

    In the past two decades CIMT has undertaken two major international longitudinal studies, namely the Kassel project (mathematical progress in cohorts of pupils in 15 countries in their last three years of compulsory education) and the IPMA project (mathematical progress of pupils in the first five or six years of school) both aiming to make recommendations for good practice in mathematics teaching and learning. The dissemination phase for UK schools of both of these projects is through the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP), the resources all being freely available at the CIMT website: http://www.cimt.org.uk.

  • 1

    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning


    About the authors 2

    Acknowledgements 4

    Introduction 5

    The Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP): key points 10

    1 Examples of good practice in mathematics teaching and learning 11

    1.1 Hungary 11

    1.2 Japan 16

    1.3 Finland 25

    2 MEP: early innovations 29

    3 Implementing MEP: lessons to be learned 33

    4 Moving forward with lesson study 39

    5 Successful implementation of changes in practice 46

    5.1 The headteacher’s perspective 46

    5.2 The role of the mathematics co-ordinator 50

    5.3 Starting in nursery 63

    5.4 Pupils’ perspectives and attitudes 76

    6 The role of the external consultant 83

    7 Recommendations for good practice 97

    References 105

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    About the authors

    David Burghes David has been Professor of Mathematics Education at Plymouth University since 2005. He was previously Professor of Education at the University of Exeter, where he founded the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT). The Centre was set up to provide help and support to mathematics teachers around the world through research, development, evaluation and dissemination of good practice in mathematics teaching and learning.


    Tibor Szalontai Tibor works at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics of the University College of Nyíregyháza, Hungary, where he has been a tutor of mathematical and methodological subjects since 1984.


    Masataka Koyama Masataka is Professor of Mathematics Education and a Vice-Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Hiroshima University in Japan. His research interests include students’ mathematical understanding, teachers’ professional development and school mathematics curriculum and textbooks.


    Sirkku Myllyntausta Sirkku is Head of Mathematics at Helsinki University Viikki Teacher Training School, Finland. She has been at the forefront of the enhancement of mathematics education in Finland over the past two decades and is a mentor teacher for student teachers at the University Practice School.


    Yvonne Beston Yvonne is a Sessional Lecturer in the Education Department at London Southbank University. She was previously headteacher of a large primary school in Orpington, Kent, where she took the lead in implementing the Mathematics Enhancement Programme in her school.


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    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning

    Melanie Hazell Melanie teaches at Long Lane Primary School, Reading, Berkshire. She was a supporter of the Mathematics Enhancement Programme; video clips from one of her lessons are on the CIMT website.


    Derek Robinson Derek is Head of Mathematics at Bishop Luffa School, a high-performing mixed comprehensive school in Chichester, West Sussex. He has worked with CIMT at Plymouth University for the past decade and has been instrumental in advocating and practising Japanese lesson study.


    Pam Pitman Pam is Headteacher at Grouville School in Jersey (a British crown dependency and the largest of the Channel Islands). The school is two-form entry, with Nursery and Reception classes. Pam has encouraged and supported the initiative to implement the Mathematics Enhancement Programme at her school.


    Rachel Smith Rachel is Mathematics Co-ordinator at Grouville School, Jersey. She was instrumental in the introduction of the Mathematics Enhancement Programme and lesson study in her school, responsible for co-ordination and leadership of the project.


    Sharon Kellett Sharon is Nursery Teacher and Foundation Stage Co-ordinator at Grouville School, Jersey. Sharon has flourished in her role of enhancing mathematics in the Nursery at her school.


    Jodie Hunter Jodie is a lecturer in Mathematics Education at Massey University, New Zealand but was previously based in CIMT at Plymouth University. She has been working with primary schools in England and Jersey, helping them to enhance their mathematics provision.


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    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning


    One of the keys to enhanced progress in mathematics for young people is a sound mathematical foundation at primary level, delivered with enthusiasm, confidence and flair.

    The international contributors to this publication, Tibor Szalontai, Masataka Koyama and Sirkku Myllyntausta, write from the perspective of high- performing countries in worldwide surveys of mathematical attainment, making the descriptions of practices in their countries especially relevant to those working to enhance standards in their own situation. Sections giving accounts of implementation of changes to practice in schools in England and Jersey are of particular interest as they are written by the teachers involved, rather than outside observers. We are grateful to these teachers for giving an insight into their experiences.

    Although it has been written with the aim of improving practice in the UK, we hope that this publication will also be of interest and help to those involved in mathematics education in other countries.

    We are grateful to all the contributors and their colleagues whose work has enabled the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT) to compile this publication. In particular, we are grateful to Jodie Hunter who undertook the initial editing of many of the contributions, and to our funders, CfBT Education Trust, for their continued support of initiatives vital to the enhancement of education, both in the UK and worldwide.

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    Enhancing primary mathematics teaching and learning


    Professor David Burghes, CIMT, Faculty of Health, Education and Society, Plymouth University

    In the 21st century, an important goal of education is to develop individuals with a high level of mathematical proficiency which then supports future participation in employment and citizenship. Mathematical knowledge is fundamental to the understanding and developme