Thursday 9th July 2020
On Tuesday 12 May 2020, we held our first Derby online Network Meeting. Over the past two years, we have built up a small group of teachers in Derby who are keen to meet and discuss topics relating to mathematical teaching, and it seemed a shame not to continue to meet online when a physical meeting was not possible.
Sheila Rollinson from Derby Moor Academy kindly offered to host the meeting on Zoom. It was a shame that we couldn’t offer the normal standard of refreshments! We decided that grading for GCSE, Core Maths and A level would be a good focus for our meeting, as these decisions were imminent and we felt that teachers would welcome the opportunity to discuss how they had reached their conclusions and how they felt. There was some anxiety about whether the final results would be ‘fair’, and if all school situations would be taken into account. The importance of ranking was recognised, but improving schools had particular concerns about the fact that historical results would be taken into account. It was also agreed that it is impossible to totally take out the emotional aspect of such decisions.
The second half of the meeting was centred around discussion of how remote teaching was going. It was interesting to hear about the different expectations of schools, from having to try to keep to original schemes of work to concentrating on consolidating techniques and knowledge. Everyone had certainly needed to adapt very quickly to the new circumstances! Concerns expressed included how to keep students motivated, whilst also trying to maintain their mental health. Also, the attitude of students when they do return to school may prove to be problematic, with gaps in their knowledge and the variety of experiences they will have had whilst trying to be schooled at home. On a positive note, all felt that their students were keen to get back into the school environment.
A sharing of recommended resources concluded the meeting. Teachers had been using material from AMSP via Integral, alongside HegartyMaths for A level, DrFrostMaths, and MyMaths. Schools had all needed to provide work packs for students without so much online access.