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Maths teaching in schools is independently reviewed

07 November 2013

​An independent report on maths in Jersey’s States schools has highlighted a shortage of specialist teachers in the Island.
The review, which was conducted by an Ofsted-trained senior inspector from the UK, involved visits to a range of primary and secondary schools to observe lessons in progress and interview pupils, staff and managers. Data held centrally at the Education, Sport and Culture Department was also analysed as part of the process.
The review took place in spring 2013 and an action plan has been drawn up to address the issues raised. This is already being put in place.


The Director of Education Mario Lundy said “It is important for all our students to be proficient in maths and numeracy and we need to keep driving up standards. That is why we commissioned this review. We will use the findings to ensure standards in maths are as high as possible in Jersey.

"There are no surprises in this review but it was important to have an objective, external view of how we are performing. The review confirms what we already knew at the time. It highlights good practice as well as areas for development and we have already taken steps to address these.
"Schools are working hard to make improvements in this subject and we are confident they are moving in the right direction. The greatest challenge for us is recruiting specialist maths teachers. This is not just a Jersey problem; it’s being experienced by schools across the UK. There is a national shortage of teachers qualifying in specialist areas.”

Highlights of the report

The report highlights the following points:
  • schools are developing improved tracking systems to monitor students’ progress. This enables them to identify where extra intervention or help is needed
  • pupil-teacher relationships are strong. In all schools, students say their maths teachers are approachable and support them
  • schools are using a variety of strategies and ‘innovative approaches’ to improve students’ results
  • pupils receive a good start in maths through the Early Years Foundation Stage in nurseries and reception classes
  • good learning environments are evident in the schools
  • the moderation process (used to confirm and quality-check teachers’ assessments of students’ work) has resulted in greater rigour and consistency of assessment

Areas to be developed

The review identifies areas to be developed, including:
  • recruitment of more specialist maths teachers
  • development of teachers’ subject knowledge if they are not specialists
  • greater focus on pupils’ basic numeracy skills
  • greater consistency in the quality of mathematics teaching across schools
  • further expansion of the moderation process
  • more effective use of ICT to support maths teaching
  • encourage more pupils to study maths to A-level standard

Detailed action plan for maths

The detailed action plan includes a range of practical steps aimed at improving the standard of maths. These include:
  • maintaining a focus on the quality of teaching
  • using data consistently to monitor the progress of each pupil and identify underperformance as early as possible
  • to give students a better understanding of mathematical concepts and how they apply in the real world
  • providing teachers with good quality professional development that will support them in the classroom
  • considering how we can provide opportunities for teachers that we already know are good, to retrain in maths
Education, Sport and Culture Minister Deputy Patrick Ryan said “Parents, teachers and employers all agree that it is vitally important for our young people to develop essential skills in maths. I would like to thank the professionals involved for taking part in the review, which will be instrumental in helping students of all ages achieve the best they possibly can in this core subject.”
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