The Post-14 Mathematics Inquiry

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Workshops #2

ACME/The Post-14 Mathematics Inquiry Workshop

Post-14 Mathematics Education:
Pathways to Progress

In his speech, welcoming attendees to the second ACME/Post-14 Mathematics Inquiry workshop, Professor Adrian Smith, Chairman of the Inquiry, stated that he was not only there to inquire but 'looked forward to being greatly educated.'

The workshop, entitled 'Post-14 Mathematics Education: Pathways to Progress', was attended by 100 representatives from the 'world of mathematics education' who had been invited to consider the issues emerging from the Inquiry and to develop ideas that could be implemented in the short to medium term to address these issues.

In his opening speech, Adrian Smith updated his audience about the recent changes to Inquiry's remit, including the responsibility for producing the blueprint for the National Centre of Excellence for Mathematics Teaching. He asked that all attendees assist him by talking locally and drawing the attention of the Inquiry to existing models and structures. Professor Smith finally explained that the day was not only about looking at specific needs and pathways within post-14 mathematics, but also about enhancing the status of vocational/practical mathematical education which has, for too long, been over-shadowed by 'academic' mathematical education.

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The emerging issues that have been brought to the attention of the Inquiry in the submissions of over 150 organisations and 30 individuals were then highlighted and discussed by the speakers of the day. Chris Belsom and Professor Mike Savage opened discussions by looking at the key problems the Specialist Strand Students face today, whilst Peter Lacey and Diane Cochrane considered the issues Foundation Strand Students face; Professor Celia Hoyles and Karen Spencer discussed issues Vocational Strand Students face and Doug French and Helen Russell looked at the problems facing Intermediate Strand Students. Finally, Alice Onion, gave a QCA view.

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Attendees were then given the opportunity to discuss, in four break-out groups, the problems facing these students, and asked to think of possible solutions to these issues. The discussion for all four groups was prompted by the questions, 'What should this particular strand set out to achieve?' In the feedback session it was clear that in all four groups there had been much agreement about the problems facing these particular 'strands' of students but agreement on the solutions to these problems had been harder to reach (please see Feedback from breakout groups for further details of discussions).

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After a lively plenary discussion, the chairman of the workshop, Chris Llewllyn Smith, summarised the main, recurring, points of the day; that league tables and targets were detrimental to mathematics education, and that pathways should not be defined by a person's age, but by the nature and stage of the individual learning trajectory. Professor Adrian Smith then closed with a few words that echoed his opening words of the day. He again urged his audience to not only deploy their abilities and insight in analysing the problems facing mathematical students, but also to suggest practical solutions.

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2nd Workshop Home page

Speakers' Profiles

Speakers' Presentations

Break out groups

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