The Northern Alliance Numeracy and Maths SharePoint site is updated frequently. Please visit the site to find resources and CPD materials: https://bit.ly/2YjSAwI

Andy Thompson who leads our numeracy and maths workstream, working closely with Andy Brown from Education Scotland’s dedicated North Team, is keen to extend a big thank you to the large number of people who responded to a recent CLPL survey. All CLPL requests have been noted and the team will be working hard to offer as much as possible in the coming months!

Several themes feature strongly across the responses: the new Higher Apps course; approaches to teaching numeracy from EYL to Level 2; supporting learners with Additional Support Needs and teaching, learning & assessment in the senior phase.

Andy was also delighted to work alongside the South Mainland Cluster (Shetland Islands Council) on their fractions collaborative action research project. Andy said: “Despite Covid-19 the project had a positive impact on learners and provided valuable data to inform future collaborations. Our thanks go to all staff for their commitment, hard work, professionalism and thoughtful evaluations. We very much look forward to continued working with Shetland settings as they plan and deliver improvements in learning.”

Oct 9th saw Andy Brown and Andy Thompson delivering a session to Moray NQTs on numeracy across the curriculum. The emphasis was on mathematical ideas that are applied across all subject areas, often without practitioners necessarily being aware. Data literacy was a central theme, with the notion of ‘data talks’ being explored through infographics, misinformation and the perils of ‘causation’ v ‘correlation’.

Some interesting new research on the brain effects of ‘maths anxiety’ was used to set the scene for how best to monitor learning through low stakes assessment approaches. The session concluded with examples of how mathematics supports the organisation and classification of information through such structures as Venn Diagrams, Frayer Models and Carroll Diagrams. A brief flurry into the world of graph theory helped to shed light on how ‘degrees of separation’ may be applied to the construction of meaningful ‘timelines’. Why not start off the week off in your school with a ‘data talk’ ?

Collaborating with Highland colleagues around progression in fractions has also been a hugely rewarding experience for the team. This progression is now almost complete. Many of the key research-based ideas – drawn from CGI, Maths Recovery, OGAP and a comprehensive literature review – were shared with teachers across the Northern Alliance during a series of four online sessions last June. Highand development officers have been putting together a comprehensive range of additional support materials, which will be available via the Highland Numeracy blog. Watch out for updates and future CLPL opportunities.

Andy and Andy have also already worked alongside several local authorities to contribute to their latest INSET programmes. These provide an excellent means for building relational capital through strengthening trust and connections, as well as providing a range of digital opportunities to explore new and emerging approaches to learning, teaching and assessment.

They are also looking forward to working with Aberdeen City primary teachers on November 23rd as together they explore ‘Powerful Pedagogies’ through the following questions. What is ‘active learning’ in mathematics? Why does ‘Intelligent Practice’ improve learning? What strategies can we use to support the development of procedural fluency? What is is ‘retrieval’ and why is it important? How do we create and sustain a culture of ‘mathematical thinking’?

In partnership with Education Scotland and teachers from the Tayside Regional Improvement Collaborative, they will also be supporting the introduction of the eagerly anticipated new Higher Applications of Mathematics. This course provides an excellent opportunity to increase participation in maths at SCQF Level 6 and covers such areas as finance, statistics and probability, data modelling, and planning and decision making. The joint working group will meet on Thursday, November 23rd at 16:00 in order to shape the scope and direction of this collaboration moving forward. DYW? STEM? It’s all there!

Finally, Andy Thompson and Andy Brown have also been delivering the Higher Maths webinars for e-Sgoil – the Northern Alliance’s e-learning school – as part of the National Support Offer. They both feel that engagement from the young people has been first class, with evaluations from learners being very positive. Of course, we’ll continue to remind Andy T to remember to switch on his microphone! 😉


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