David Faram, Lead of Maths at East Bergholt High School, spoke to us about how the school adopted Mathematics Mastery nine years ago. He has been teaching for fifteen years and currently teaches year groups 11-16 at East Bergholt.
‘When we started using Ark Curriculum Plus’s Maths Mastery programme nine years ago, it was about establishing some consistency. We had great teachers, but there was still the issue of different students getting a different experience, and we wanted to standardise the approach to teaching across different classes.’
East Bergholt High was one of the first schools to sign up with Ark Curriculum Plus when they launched Mathematics Mastery. ‘It created a lot of debate when the school initially implemented the programme, this was when the concept of doing ‘modelling’ was quite unusual, and we had to put in a lot of work in educating the students, teachers and parents about this new approach by Ark Curriculum Plus.’
David has witnessed Mathematics Mastery change quite a bit in the nine years he’s been at East Bergholt, but consistency and flexibility have always been at its core. ‘It introduced a lot of visual referencing and breaking complicated things down in lessons. The programme created a transparent teaching environment focused on student discussion and feedback; it proved highly adaptable. The curriculum has fostered an attitude of ‘we are all in this together' between teachers and students.’
David remembers it being a radically different move as a school to take on the Mathematics Mastery curriculum by Ark Curriculum Plus nine years ago. He recalls being invited to a few conferences to discuss how the school had embraced the innovative curriculum. It helped the school stand out and stay ahead of the game.
‘Using the programme for nine years has attracted more talent teaching maths. We have a teacher who has transferred from teaching PE to primary maths because they enjoyed and appreciated the approach. It’s encouraged people to look at maths in a slightly different way. We are now working at depth rather than breath.’
The school mainly found face-to-face training helpful when implementing the curriculum programme. ‘The conferences especially were beneficial as they provided a platform to exchange views with other schools.’
David advises schools wanting to embrace Ark Curriculum Plus’s Mathematics Mastery programme, ‘It takes time; it’s not a quick fix. It’s a minimum of a three-year plan to see a visible difference. Year 7 and Year 10 are a good place to start.’
The broader effect across the school has been excellent too. ‘We regularly have other subject leaders coming to our maths team for advice on the mastery approach to teaching.'
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