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During the lockdown period, I have merged most of the teacher networks in my area to form the East London Online Teacher Network. Although teachers from across the region are all welcome, we give priority to teachers working in state-funded schools and colleges in East London.

Recently we have run teacher networks such as Back2School, Raising Girls’ Participation and 6 Concepts; in all cases, the demand was so high that two instances of each network were run.

Although Back2School may sound like a bad club night from university years, it provided an opportunity to discuss how schools and colleges were planning to manage the return to teaching for Year 10 and for Year 12. We heard a number of different models which were being planned in different institutions. The network also provided an opportunity to share different ways in which we were supporting all students to prepare for September. These meetings were deliberately kept small so that discussion was easier.

Raising Girls’ Participation provided an opportunity to consider strategies to support girls participation in level 3 maths. Although the strategies that were discussed were aimed with girls in mind, many would be suitable for encouraging the transition to level 3 maths for all students. This session also provided draft data on the rates of participation based on the 2019 exams. If you are interested in supporting students to consider studying maths post-16, you may be interested in some of the guidance and resources available on the AMSP website.

6 Concepts provided an opportunity to share some experiences of challenges that students experience in the transition to Year 12, and to consider the varying expectations that we have of Year 12 students. By looking at a number of trigger cases, we considered how students who have been in different GCSE sets will bring different experiences to the Year 12 classroom. As a way to support students with the transition to level 3 maths, we considered whether there are some topics which would benefit from having a consistent teaching approach in KS3 and KS4. Across the two sessions, the top three topic areas suggested by teachers were Algebraic Manipulation, Solving Quadratics, and Laws of Indices (especially fractional and negative).

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