Following the huge success of our Primary Mastery Specialist Teacher Programme, the Maths Hubs are now looking to expand this across to the Secondary phase. In 2016-17, there will be a National Collaborative Project looking to develop a Secondary Mastery Specialist programme following a similar style to our Cohort 2 Primary Specialists.

Every Maths Hub is now looking for between 1 and 4 teachers from different schools to participate in the central Secondary Mastery Specialist development programme. They will receive centralised training from the NCETM, and spend time developing Teaching for Mastery in their own school working with colleagues. During the latter part of the year, the Mastery Specialist teachers will also work with teachers from other schools and begin to set up Teacher Research Groups (TRGs).

Nominated teachers will be expected to have support from their department and a member of SLT. There will be funding for an equivalent of 10.5 days release time in Year 1, and a commitment to continue the programme in Year 2.

Further information and the application document can be found here. Schools are asked to send applications directly to:, and copying in the NCETM, by 14 October 2016.

Why choose teaching when you graduate…

Being a teacher is not simple. You are always on your feet with an immense amount of responsibility within the department, classroom and around the school. It also means staying late to do lesson plans, departmental meetings, parents evening, helping students with extra work, marking… the list goes on. However, this does not reflect how very rewarding it is when students appreciate how much effort you have put into their lessons or how satisfying you will find it when your colleagues in departmental meetings appreciate your endless energy. Simply, you realise how worthwhile it is, when you say you’re leaving the school at the end of the year and they say: “Ah Miss! Why are you leaving?!” I experienced all of this and more. That is why I am happily looking forward to selecting teaching as my career and entering the teaching profession!

During my time at Epsom & Ewell High School I have learnt so much and am glad that I chose this placement. I have been working with year groups 7 to 11 with a mixed range of ability. I have also led my own year 11 interventions after school, completed marking tests and reviews, conducted a year 9 class and prepared KS4 homework sheets for the upcoming academic year 2016-2017. I am extremely satisfied with my contribution to the maths department. I am looking forward to coming back here after my degree and training if I can.

I did have some previous experience of teaching before I started this placement which has helped me immensely throughout the year. However, this year has taught me something incomparable to my previous experience. It provided me the genuine insight into the teaching world, as well as a professional working environment.

I was very lucky to have found an undergraduate Teaching Assistant placement through Surrey Plus Maths Hub and happily can say that this placement has confirmed my career path. I know an increasing amount of graduates who are still in search of their perfect job and to have my profession decided I feel safe. The training provided by the Surrey Plus Maths Hub and the practical experience at Epsom & Ewell High School has made my placement year very satisfactory.

At the end of the placement I can confirm that I have evolved and grown as an individual, overcoming my shy personality and engaging with everyone. I understand that a teaching career can be stressful, however I enjoy the fact that every day will be different.  I am truly looking forward to a career in teaching!

Prithivy Sivakumar

Give teaching a try!

There are so many aspects of teaching that people who have never done it will always overlook or perhaps never understand: being in school before most people wake up, staying late to chat to parents, how desperately those 13 weeks of holiday are needed, that feeling when the penny finally drops for a student or just how each and every single day is different. There’s no real way to experience anything close without actually giving it a go, but luckily over the past year, I have done exactly that.

I signed up for the Surrey Plus Maths Hub Undergraduate Placement scheme because I was curious to see if teaching was for me. I did not expect to have a full and perfect answer, but I knew that experience could never be a bad thing. Looking back to a year ago, I had no idea what career path I wanted to go down. Unlike others, I had no clear direction to help shape my placement choice; I had to rely on the idea that one day I might happily be a teacher. I remember my inhibitions initially; of going back to a school so soon after I’d finished myself, the kids being able to sense my inexperience and earning respect being nigh on impossible. How would I have felt being told off by someone only a few years older than me? But on top of those worries, there was an enormous amount of excitement. As someone who is terrible with monotony, the possibility of working in an ever-changing and exciting environment (as opposed to the office based placements that my peers were entering in to) was the dream!

Now that I’ve finished my year, I can safely say that those inhibitions were not to be worried about, and the excitement was well judged. The initial training offered by Surrey Plus Maths Hub helped calm any nerves that I had, as well as providing me with sufficient resources to get me into a classroom straight away. During my time at St. Andrews Catholic School in Leatherhead, I assistedTom Gatens.fw teaching in classrooms of all years, led numeracy interventions for weaker students lower down the school, ran personalised revision sessions for GCSE Students and even took my own class for a whole year. My ever changing role in the Maths department gave me an immense amount of satisfaction. This vocation never settles down into anything resembling tedium! Only through experience do you truly learn, and with the vast amount of exposure I had to the real life of a teacher, I have learned a great deal; not only about this career, but key skills that can be put into practice in any role (time management, people skills etc.).

The Surrey Plus Maths Hub Undergraduate Placement Scheme offers the perfect opportunity to give it a try. If I hadn’t enjoyed this year then a lesson would have been learned; a career in education is not for me. Fortunately, I did enjoy this year and know full well that once my degree is finished in a year’s time, I would more than happily move into a teaching career. But I also know exactly what the lifestyle is like. Perhaps in a year I will decide I want to explore other career opportunities; if for the next 5 years a wild interest in Investment Banking sweeps me away, then I know full well, after the year that I’ve had, that teaching is something I will more than happily return to.

Tom Gatens

Henry Stevenson at Weydon School, Farnham has been running a project looking at increasing the participation levels of Post-16 students in Level 3 Maths courses. This Maths Hub project has one broad aim of increasing participation levels of post-16 students in A Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and other level 3 courses, such as Core Maths.

Participation Rates

The project initially looked into studying habits of students in Surrey Plus region. We found that the percentage of students studying Maths and Further Maths in the Surrey Plus region is in line with the national picture, with a slight increase in uptake between 2013 and 2014 (table below):

Maths Further Maths
Surrey Plus England Surrey Plus England
2013 29% 28% 5% 5%
2014 31% 28% 5% 5%

However, hidden by these numbers is the fact that the number of girls pursuing post 16 maths courses is significantly outweighed by the number of boys; and relatively very few girls take on Further Maths as an A-level option.

Factors influencing progression to A-level mathematics

Having spoken with several post-16 providers, it became clear that there are several factors which influence student progression to A-level mathematics

  • High quality teaching throughout the secondary phase
  • Clearly demonstrated enthusiasm and passion for mathematics
  • Professional planning and managing of the several elements between them that make for effective teaching and learning of mathematics
  • High expectations of pupils’ learning of mathematics
  • Effective monitoring and assessment regimes
  • A positive whole school attitude towards maths as a subject
  • Good interpersonal teacher-student relationships
  • Career events
  • Transition projects and Summer Schools

In summary

One of the repeating themes that comes out of this, is that many Sixth Form colleges do not feel as though they have the Picture1power to influence participation, and 11-16 providers do not see A-level uptake as a concern.  Addressing this gap has been difficult.  However, the research tells us that the two key factors to increasing participation levels are student enrichment, and teacher PD.  It seems simple enough:  If the students have a positive learning experience during KS3 and KS4, and if the quality of teaching is high, the students will want to pursue mathematics at college.  These two features are being addressed through the TeachMeets, Secondary Maths Networks, Enrichment events and CPD that we are facilitating.

Strategies for raising participation

Below are some tried and tested strategies for increasing participation that schools and colleges have found successful:

  • Student enrichment events at KS4 currently available from the Surrey Plus Hub
  • Mentoring links between Year 12 pupils and Year 11 pupils
  • Sixth Form Taster days
  • Prospectus used to promote importance of Maths to parents
  • CPD to develop teaching and learning


All hubs are collaborating closely with locally based colleagues working for both the Further Mathematics Support Programme and the Core Maths Support Programme.

Further Maths Support Programme

FMSP Coordinators work with schools and colleges to support and promote the study of AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. They also provide training opportunities and support to teachers of AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics and KS4 Higher Tier Mathematics. They are currently supporting teachers in preparation for the impending changes to the A level Mathematics specification.

Core Maths Support Programme

To encourage students to continue with Maths after GCSE, there is an additional option. Core Maths is a new course for those who want to keep up their valuable maths skills but are not planning to take AS or A-level maths. Core Maths aims to increase student confidence in using maths , and to be better equipped for the mathematical demands of other courses, higher education, employment and life. At the end of the two-year course, students will come out with a level 3 qualification– similar to an AS and recognised in UCAS points.  The qualification is assessed by a final examination; some courses also offer the option of submitting a portfolio of coursework. To find out more go to:

Research links

If you are interested in further investigating participation at post 16, the links below are recommended by the NCETM.

Widening Participation Report: A Summary

Factors Influencing Progression to A-level Mathematics