The mathematics FE sector is now receiving a long-overdue period of focus and attention from research and policymakers. The Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) project is an exciting time to be a part of that delivery. As an ETF Regional Maths Lead (RML) for the programme, I work with two colleagues; the three of us cover the whole of England and offer our support to the 21 Centres for Excellence in Maths and their partners. We are Richard Kirtlan, Shobhna Fletcher and Steve Pardoe.
Our role is diverse, and we operate as critical friends, advising and directing the Centres in their growth and development in mathematics, counselling the generation and application of their Action Plans, growing networks, CPD and staff development opportunities in and beyond their geographical regions.
The real benefits of this project are starting to become apparent; the formation of the regional cluster meetings for the National Trials, watching the trial teachers involved grow their involvement with the lesson material, critically assessing not only the material but the way in which they are delivered, forming new relationships with colleagues across the country.
And it’s not just the trials which we hope to yield benefits; each Centre is approaching their own Action Research project to learn the answers to queries that have stalked the sector for years. Seeing the joined-up cooperation between colleges on an unprecedented level is something to behold and appreciate as you step back and see the greater picture. Some centres have almost national geographic partners engaged with the individual research which range from how to develop a mastery approach in FE maths, discovering and conquering the barriers that face our learners, to questioning why learners do and do not engage with online resources.
And of course, with all this, Centres are now seeing improved rates of success from their learners, and spreading that success to their partners, which in turn of course, means more learners and more lives transformed.