The life of an AMSP Area Coordinator

Thursday 30th June 2022

Three of the overarching aims of the Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP) are:

  • To increase participation in A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics.
  • To increase participation in Level 3 Core Maths.
  • To improve the teaching of these qualifications.

To help achieve these aims, the AMSP has more than forty Area Coordinators scattered throughout the length and breadth of England, supporting schools and colleges in their quest to ensure that as many of our youngsters as possible have a fantastic experience whilst studying level 3 maths. With a number of countries around the world having the majority of their 16 to 18 year olds continuing with maths beyond their equivalent of GCSE level, the challenge of increasing participation and ensuring high quality provision in English schools is of the utmost importance; Area Coordinators have a significant role in helping schools and colleges meet these challenges.

I've been an Area Coordinator for five years now and have found the experience to be an exciting yet humbling one. I'm no longer teaching in a school, and it's easy to forget just how demanding the job is once you've been away from the classroom for even a short period of time. I'm extremely privileged to work closely with so many amazing teachers who, without exception, are willing to go those few extra yards for their students. Without the support of teachers in schools, the Area Coordinator’s job would be impossible, but arranging to host events in schools and colleges take time, energy and commitment on the part of the already overburdened teacher! I'd like to use this opportunity to say a huge "thank you" to all of those who have hosted, or attended, any of our events.

I'm currently the AMSP’s Area Coordinator for Somerset and East Devon, coincidentally the part of the world I grew up, and went to school, in! In fact, my old secondary school – Wadham School in Crewkerne – is ‘on my patch’, and running a Year 10 Maths is Your Future enrichment morning out of my old biology classroom in October of last year was a surreal and strangely comforting experience.

As well as organising and delivering maths enrichment events for students in Key Stages 3 and 4, my role also involves supporting students on their path through level 3 maths. To do this, Area Coordinators organise regular problem-solving classes for both Year 12 and Year 13 students as well as running a number of one-day problem-solving events. Additionally, for those schools and colleges that cannot viably offer A level Further Mathematics to their students, the Area Coordinator will assist in arranging online tuition through the AMSP’s tuition offer.

Area Coordinators also arrange and deliver professional development for teachers. In the last five years, training of all shapes and sizes – for A level Mathematics, A level Further Mathematics, Core Maths; Pure, Statistics, Mechanics; face-to-face or online; twilight or whole-day – have all been offered for teachers in the Somerset and East Devon area and beyond. Working with teachers is always a pleasure and I usually come away from these days having learned just as much as I have imparted! Additionally, each Area Coordinator oversees the running of at least a couple of Teacher Networks, which provide opportunities for teachers to get together and share ideas, challenges, opinion and, often, cake!

Whether running events for students, professional development for teachers or visiting schools in the area to explore how the AMSP might be able to offer support, working as an Area Coordinator always brings massive levels of satisfaction and contentment; not least because it regularly reaffirms that the study of maths in the South West of England is in such rude health! You can find and get in touch with your local Area Coordinator on the AMSP website – they'd love to hear from you.

By Tom Rainbow

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