Swindon first for Chinese teaching expert showcase

By Anita Jaynes on 30 October, 2017

Swindon is to host the region’s first Boolean Shanghai Maths Showcase event outside of Bristol, giving teachers the opportunity to find out more about how the teaching techniques used in Chinese schools can be applied here in the West.

Taking place on 15 and 16 November at Gorse Hill Primary School, the Shanghai Maths Showcase event is the culmination of work between teachers and their counterparts in China to share learning and best practice in the teaching of maths as part of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics’ (NCETM) work nationwide with Maths Hubs.

Hosted by The White Horse Federation (TWHF) for the Boolean Math Hub’s West of England region, two teachers will be swapping their classrooms in Shanghai for Swindon’s Gorse Hill Primary School.

Earlier this year, Gorse Hill Year Five teacher Suzanne Mathews spent a fortnight in Shanghai, together with 74 other maths specialist teachers from across the UK, seeing first-hand how different teaching techniques promote effective learning in maths.

All the teachers on the exchange are Mastery Specialists, a teaching approach which puts the emphasis on ensuring pupils have a deep and meaningful understanding of each topic enabling them to apply their learning across different situations.   Suzanne works with seven schools across Swindon and Wiltshire as part of the Boolean Maths Hub Teacher Research Group to share learning and develop Mastery skills amongst her colleagues.

Suzanne said: “It was an amazing experience to go halfway across the world and learn from some of the best maths teachers in the world.  The teachers in Shanghai are masters at their lesson design and they take a lot of time reviewing and working with their fellow teachers to improve and develop their techniques.

“Teaching in the classes in China and experiencing the deep level of learning that they instil has really inspired me to put this into practice to benefit the young people in the town I live in, as well as across Wiltshire through the Research Group and these Showcase events.”

Swindon Teaching Schools, part of TWHF, will also be creating teaching videos and resources from the events, which will enable the next generation of teachers to access all aspects of the exchange.

Dr Nick Capstick OBE, CEO of TWHF added: “To be the first outside of Bristol to host the Boolean Shanghai Showcase is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.  This is the perfect way to raise the profile of maths and incorporate best practice from across the world into how we teach the subject, as well as influencing other teachers and schools in our region and beyond for the benefit of all young people.”

The Boolean Maths Hub is part of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and covers schools across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire. There are 35 Maths Hubs, spread across England, each led by a school with a record of high achievement in maths and of supporting improvements in maths teaching and learning in neighbouring schools.

This is the third teacher exchange with schools in Shanghai since the Maths Hubs programme was launched in autumn 2014.

Councillor Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and School Attainment said: “We are highly anticipating the arrival of the teachers from Shanghai next week, and we look forward to seeing how their methods can inspire teachers in Swindon to try different approaches when teaching maths.

“The Swindon Challenge remains a key priority for us to continue to drive changes that will enable every child to get the best education possible.

“Opportunities like this are a great way to see how improvements can be made to further our efforts and improve educational outcomes in Swindon.”

The Showcase events are suitable for primary and secondary teachers with a responsibility for teaching maths.  For more information on the Showcase, visit www.swindonteachingschool.org.uk/training-courses/shanghai-maths-showcase