27 December 2016

Highlights of 2016

2016 has been truly awful... The best way to cope with so many terrible things happening in one year is to focus on the positives. In the world of maths education, there's been loads of fantastic stuff going on. Although we continue to face challenges relating to workload, behaviour, curriculum change and recruitment, there's still plenty to celebrate. In this post I share some of my favourite moments of 2016.

The Conferences
La Salle's conferences are always brilliant. I was gutted to miss their Leeds conference in June but I really enjoyed the Peterborough conference in March and the Kettering conference in October. La Salle are hosting even more conferences in 2017 (check out their dates and locations here) so if you haven't been before, do join us.
Pre-conference drinks in Peterborough in March

Teachers enjoying #mathsconf6 in Peterborough

Cake from Julia Smith at #mathsconf6
to celebrate my 50th gems post
Pre-conference drinks in Kettering
- we made Enigma machines!  
Rob Smith's tuck shop at #mathsconf8 in Kettering

The first researchED Maths and Science was held in Oxford in June 2016. It was excellent. I really hope to see this event return in 2017.
A wonderful venue for researchED Maths and Science

Maths teachers meet for lunch at researchED Maths and Science

In 2016 I attended a number of conferences as a presenter, including Edexcel's Warwick conference, the FMSP's London KS5 Network Day, and Coast2Coast TSA's maths conference.
Peter Mattock and I presenting at
Coast2Coast TSA's maths conference
Meeting my maths hero Hannah Fry at
Edexcel's Warwick conference
The Social Events
I really enjoy meeting up with maths teachers who I've chatted to on Twitter. A highlight this year was our trip to Bletchley Park in the summer holidays. We were so lucky to be treated to a tour of the grounds and a private demonstration of an Enigma machine.
Summer day out at Bletchey Park with fellow tweeters

Some of #teambletchley

La Salle organised their second summer meet up for maths teachers - Pie and Maths.
Summer drinks at #pieandmaths

I had a lovely time at one of Old Andrew's blogger curries.
Out for drinks with edubloggers, organised by
blogging legend Andrew Old

In December I hosted #christmaths16. 110 teachers got together for festive mathsy fun at the Science Museum followed by a night out at a Kensington pub.
Post-museum drinks at #christmaths16

Maths teachers enjoying #christmaths16
The Grassroots Events
This year I've attended a number of events at local schools. I presented at Maths in the Sticks which was an A level day run by Stuart Price, and I presented at Paul Collins' MathsMeet at Oakwood School. I also travelled up to Oldham to present at Lindsey Bennett's LIME event. I hosted my own event too - MathsMeet Glyn took place on a Saturday morning in March and starred one of my maths heroes, Don Steward.
Paul Collins at Oakwood School's MathsMeet
Ben Sparks presenting at Stuart Price's 'Maths in the Sticks' Event
With colleagues at lunch after #mathsmeetglyn

With Don Steward
at #mathsmeetglyn

The Websites and Resources
During 2016 the world of maths resources went from strength to strength.

Clarissa Grandi's artfulmaths.com is a beautiful new website, providing inspiration and resources for both classroom displays and creative maths lessons.

New website mrcartermaths.com is highly valued for its ease of use. Excellent websites such as mrbartonmaths.com, corbettmaths.com and mathsbot.com have continued to develop new content.

For A level teachers, undergroundmathematics.org arrived on the scene, providing high quality rich tasks from the team at the University of Cambridge. We also discovered the IYGB papers on madasmaths.com, providing a large bank of challenging exam style papers for A level students.

The prime game from Christian Lawson-Perfect provided hours of entertainment - and fierce competition - amongst maths teachers.

Throughout 2016 maths hubs all over the country supported teachers in both primary and secondary schools. The White Rose Maths Hub shared excellent schemes of work and assessment resources for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Craig Barton's podcasts were a wonderful feature of 2016 - if you've not discovered these yet, they are well worth a listen. Look out for more of Craig's podcasts in 2017.
The Networks
Since joining Twitter in 2014, my career has been transformed. Its incredible network of teachers continues to provide an endless supply of support, advice, resources, ideas and encouragement. During 2016 I was fortunate to become involved with both the AQA Maths Expert Panel and the TES Maths Panel too.
Some of the AQA Maths Expert Panel members
sporting Christmas jumpers at our December meeting

I can't talk about my 2016 maths education highlights without mentioning my wonderful school and my awesome colleagues. They're a real pleasure to work with.
Lizzie and I with Year 13 maths students on their
last day at Glyn. They don't normally look so scruffy!

Celebrating results on the first day of the new
school year with colleagues Harry and Farah

With trainee teacher Sarah
at Glyn's staff Christmas party
With colleague Rachel at Glyn's
 staff Christmas dinner
Joint Heads of Maths Christina
and Catherine, with NQT Amelia 
Looking Ahead
2017 brings the first sitting of maths GCSE 9 - 1. The successful delivery of this new qualification will be something for maths teachers to celebrate. I worry about how the media and public will react to low grade boundaries and falling 'pass rates' though. I also worry about our poor 'guinea pig' year groups who won't be funded to resit if they get a Grade 4, even though it's likely they'll need a Grade 5 for future career opportunities.

2017 also brings the start of the new linear maths A level. Some of the specifications are not yet accredited, and it's with trepidation that I look ahead to the summer term. I expect that there will be a last minute rush to organise schemes of work, teacher CPD, resources and textbooks.

The Smith Report on post-16 education is due to be published any day now and I (nervously) look forward to seeing the recommendations.

There are many wonderful events planned for maths teachers in 2017 - see my event listings for details. I look forward to La Salle's next conference (11th March in Bristol) and I really hope I'll be able to attend the very exciting JustMaths conference at Alton Towers in June.

I'm positive that the many maths teacher networks, including our wonderful Twitter community, will continue to thrive in 2017.

We have a lot to look forward to.

Happy New Year, maths teachers!