The expectation that all students will achieve a suitable passing grade in a Level 2 mathematics qualification has raised challenges for the Further Education (FE) sector in England. Students who leave 11-16 education without good grades in English or mathematics are likely to continue their study in an FE organisation, and are often demotivated by their experiences in school and have lower aspirations. In order to improve the success rates of students retaking GCSE mathematics in FE organisations, it is therefore important that FE teachers are given opportunities to reflect on and develop their teaching of mathematics, by engaging with professional development opportunities.
This professional development project provides an opportunity to improve mathematics teaching through the adoption of mastery-style approaches. Working in collaboration with staff from Sheffield Institute of Education, teachers of mathematics from four FE organisations (Sheffield College, Chesterfield College, the Manchester College and Wetherby Young Offenders Institute) are using an action research-style model to develop current practice to trial and evaluate mastery approaches to teaching mathematics. Support for the teachers is provided through face-to-face workshops and visits, in order to share and improve understanding of mathematics mastery approaches and action research, and a financial bursary funded by the Education and Training Foundation.