Mastery maths in EYFS – update

My name is Bridget and I am so proud to have been approached along with eight other Early Years practitioners across the city to work together. Our mission is to decide what mastery maths might look like in EYFS through research and lesson study, with a particular focus on developing Early Number Sense. Historically, I admit that I have planned and taught maths lessons paying close attention to ‘next steps’ in order to accelerate children’s learning as soon as they appeared to understand a concept. I liken this to parenting my first child when I strived to meet every milestone (first tooth, sitting unsupported, crawling, walking, babbling). By this I mean that I was so focused on them moving on the next stage, I feel I missed all the small steps which showed how the learning occurred.   From day one of this learning journey I have been challenged on so many levels. I have learnt how to confidently use new language and thoroughly understand why terminology is important to support children’s conceptual knowledge. For example; during every lesson we empower the children to develop their own solution and refer to this as ‘releasing the kite’. We also challenge ‘rapid graspers’ by making them feel ‘mathematically uncomfortable’. Every lesson that we have planned through the research group has been discussed in depth ensuring that key concepts have been broken down into small steps. Who’d have thought you could spend at least a week teaching number 4? I have observed my research team (affectionately known as the purple group) teach some amazing lessons using innovative resources including a balance of... read more

Recruitment and retention update

I’m here with a general update for all things EIB. Firstly, I am sad to report that Fran Cropper, the Recruitment and Retention Officer for the EIB has left her role to take up a promotion with her former team. Fran has achieved so much in her short time with the EIB and has given us our Teach Nottingham website, created a brilliant video promoting Nottingham as a place to live and teach and has forged some excellent partnerships both locally and nationally. We are now looking at how we can build on the work Fran has done and will announce plans for her replacement shortly.   And speaking of recruitment, I attended Transform’s excellent recruitment fair on Saturday 4 February at the Playhouse in the city centre. My role was to promote the TeachNottingham agenda and to share some vacancies from schools who are not in the Transform Teaching School Alliance (TSA). It was a brilliant morning and the turnout was excellent, a real mixture of NQT’s, experienced teachers, people considering the profession for the first time and Teaching Assistants. I shared a stall with Nottingham University who were there to promote the School Direct route and I am not exaggerating when I say they were busy all morning! The interest in this route in to teaching is obviously really high and comes from people with differing levels of classroom experience.   Our TeachNottingham bags went down very well and almost every attendee left with one, which was great because it meant they were spreading the TeachNottingham message as they went about the rest of the day. And... read more

Transition student conference, by Jennifer Hardy

On 30th November last year, we held a student conference in the Ballroom at the Council House to look at transition from primary to secondary school. Nine of the city’s secondary schools sent KS3 and KS4 pupils to the conference, pre-armed with their thoughts about how their own experiences of transition have impacted on their secondary education and their views about how transition could be improved.   I found the morning to be a brilliant insight in to how the work the EIB is doing affects the young people in the city and, as someone who is guilty of spending too much time at Loxley House, it was great for me to learn from the people we aim to help. All of the young people were enthusiastic and bought a variety of experiences and recommendations to the discussion, ranging from practical quick wins to aspirational transition activities.   Transition is one of the EIB’s key areas of focus and we have recently appointed Sarah Smailes as the Transition Strand Lead working a day a week for the EIB. Sarah will also continue to work as a Year 6 teacher at Claremont Primary School in the city. Sarah will start work for the EIB at the end of January and will do her own blog post when she is settled in to the role.   The feedback gathered from the conference will be developed in to a newsletter, which will be one in a series of newsletters produced and shared with all city school staff in the run up to the common transition day in July this year. We will... read more

EYFS Maths Mastery-Securing the Foundations

Hello, We work in the Early Years Foundation Team at Nottingham City Council and we approached the Education Improvement Board to apply for funding to lead an EYFS Maths Mastery research group with 9 x F2 Teachers from 9 City schools (with varying levels of deprivation). This is a great opportunity to bring together experts from the field of Mathematics and we are working in collaboration with Martin Tillbrook (Teaching for Mastery Primary Lead with East Midlands South Maths Hub) and Professors from Nottingham University. By working together we are looking at how teaching in a mastery style can be weaved into Mathematics teaching in an EYFS classroom while maintaining Early Years pedagogy. We will be blogging on the EIB website over the course of the year and will be sharing an analysis of the project at the end. Why are we doing this? Many children in KS1 and KS2 are starting to be taught in a Mastery style since the changes to the National Curriculum. It therefore makes sense to start this journey in EYFS so we can enable the majority of children to have a secure understanding of Early Number Sense which will support the transition into Year One. Sustainable CPD In light of the addition of the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development to the Teaching Standards, we are looking at creating a sustainable model for CPD in schools. Throughout this research project we will be using a Lesson Study approach (supported by Professor Geoff Wake, Nottingham University) to plan EYFS Maths Mastery Lessons. This approach is enabling teachers to reflect on their lessons, thinking about how... read more

Fran Cropper, Teacher Recruitment and Retention Officer

Hello everyone, It has been an incredibly busy first few months in post for me – the extremely complex and ever changing nature of the Educational landscape in Nottingham/nationally is the backdrop to such an important agenda; how to get the best outcomes for our children. Everyone remembers their best and most inspiring teachers, yet with the media focus on the teacher supply crisis, the big challenge is how we ensure Nottingham is a city of choice for teachers.   Unfortunately, there is no ‘silver bullet’ for this issue (wouldn’t it be great if there were?!) In this context, over the last few months I have been mainly focussing on: Meeting the Board and key stakeholders – I do appreciate I haven’t met all of you yet, but please bear with me! Talking to lots of other cities around what they are doing to tackle the issue Writing a strategic action plan, to deliver a programme of activity over the next few years Developing a ‘Teach Nottingham’ brand, including launching a website, promotional materials, press coverage etc. Making a successful bid for funding to run the acclaimed ‘Headspace’ programme for Headteachers (If you are interested in taking part in this please email me Producing a CPD map – available to all schools Arranging for all Academy Staff to get a great offer to City Leisure Centres: Writing a bid to DfE for funding to allow Schools to review their policies to reduce teacher workload (result awaited) Planning events to showcase Nottingham and the routes to teaching. I recently met lots of great graduates at an NTU Graduate Fair.... read more