Centres for Excellence in Maths (CfEM) National Trials update: January 2022

By Geoff Wake, CfEM National Trials Director

As we return to our research after the Christmas break it has been great to reconnect with teachers in Groups 1 and 2.

The research team kicked off 2022 with leading professional development days for Lead Teachers and Trial Teachers in the first half of January. The intention had been to have had these as our first face-to-face meetings but unfortunately the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 resulted in these meetings being held online. Given how much colleagues have been struggling since the start of the GCSE course with all the difficulties that COVID-19 has brought it was great to be able to connect with everyone. The team really appreciate the huge efforts and energy that everyone involved has dedicated to the research on top of their day-to-day work.

The Practice Development days gave us time to reflect on what we have learned about teaching for mastery so far and an opportunity to consider how the lessons have been carefully designed to support teaching that supports this. We were able to look at the work of some students and how they had engaged with tasks that exposed their mathematical thinking and working in pairs to resolve any misunderstandings they had. There was then an opportunity for Trial Teachers to work in groups to consider how they might design such lessons for themselves to further develop Teaching for Mastery.

This is a busy and important period in the course of the trials.

In January and February, we move onto the next two lessons and teachers in Group 1 will be taking part in lesson study that involves them all watching videos of the same lessons and discussing these with colleagues. Alongside this all teachers in Groups 1 and 2 will be teaching these two lessons themselves.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes the team has been planning contingencies in case GCSEs are cancelled for the third year running. We are starting to reveal these plans to teachers – but hopefully the plans we have been making won’t be put into action and GCSEs will go ahead this summer.

We extend our thanks to everyone involved and hope that we all have a successful 2022.

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