Mathematics: Education

Department for Education written question – answered at on 26 September 2023.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the effectiveness of Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses in mathematics and primary mathematics.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Education Endowment Foundation have highlighted that teacher subject knowledge is crucial for realising the potential of mathematics resources and interventions to raise attainment. They have also noted that access to subject specialist teachers is important for high quality teaching.

The Maths Hub Specialist Knowledge for Teaching Maths (SKTM) programmes are sustained professional development programmes that combine workshops with independent work carried out by participants in their own settings. All the SKTM programmes are designed to support teachers to develop both subject knowledge and pedagogy for teaching mathematics. For some schools, this can increase the availability of subject knowledge within the school, even where the school has struggled to recruit subject specialists.

Maths Hubs’ SKTM programmes have helped over 4,000 schools to strengthen their teaching by equipping non specialists with the subject knowledge, pedagogical approach and confidence to teach mathematics. Participants and their schools have reported that both lessons and departmental planning time have become more effective following participation in the programme.

England performs above the international averages for mathematics in all international studies of school aged pupils. In particular, England achieved its highest ever mathematics score in both the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) international test for year 5 pupils, and the 2018 PISA test of 15 year olds. The 2018 PISA test showed that the performance of 15 year olds improved significantly in mathematics, particularly for lower attaining pupils.

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