Significant gap between best and worst Maths Trainee Teachers in England

Mar 31, 2011

A significant gap between the best and worst maths trainee teachers in England has been revealed in new research published today (22nd March 2011). This applies to both general Primary trainee teachers and to Secondary specialist trainee maths teachers.

The research shows that general Primary trainees in Japan are better than our specialist trainees. In the Primary sector England is significantly outperformed by Japan, Russia and China, where trainee teachers take the equivalent of A-Level mathematics before entering teacher maths training.

The international audit compared results from trainee teachers in England, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Russia and Singapore. In the Secondary sector results show that amongst all the participating countries, in England trainee teachers have the greatest range of mathematical ability. This range shows we have teacher trainees who can attain the highest scoring results but equally we have those who achieve the lowest results.

The research study International Comparative Study in Mathematics Teacher Training, Recommendations for initial teacher training in England was sponsored and published by CfBT Education Trust and undertaken by a group of representing some of the world’s most renowned universities in high performing countries. Trainee teachers were tested on their knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts and applications.

Professor David Burghes, University of Plymouth, author of the report said: "We can be reassured that England is not disgraced here, although it could clearly do much better. One of the main issues for concern is the wide variation in standards across the profession; this could perhaps be explained by the relatively low entry requirements for teacher training and the lack of specialism at Primary level."

The report goes on to make the following recommendations:

• At Primary level entry requirements for teacher trainees to be raised to grade B in maths at GCSE in the short-term, then in the long-term the introduction of a dedicated AS-level on mathematical concepts and applications even for trainee Primary teachers.

• Strengthen the link between subject knowledge and teaching during the Secondary PGCE courses.

• Provision of support for secondary NQTs to complete modules for a Masters qualification, necessitating a reduced timetable for three years.

• The establishment of University Practice Schools (across all subjects).

Tony McAleavy, Education Director at CfBT Education Trust said: "Teaching needs to become a respected profession in this country, on a par with the law and medicine and then we will attract more able people to the profession. In line with government thinking, the establishment of University Practice Schools otherwise known as University Training Schools, is the most important decision that could be made for taking the profession forward. This would ensure less variation in standards and would ensure that there would be peer support for new teachers in their first practice; something that has currently been lacking. This additional support may also help to retain teachers in the profession for longer periods of time."

Respondents were also questioned on their attitudes and aspirations. When asked how long they expected to be in the profession 'working life' was by far the most popular choice which is at odds to the reality that the modal length of time is about three to four years in mathematics teaching.

The report 'International Comparative Study in Mathematics Teacher Training Recommendations for initial teacher training in England' will be available for download at www.cfbt.com from the 22nd March 2011.

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

Provided by University of Plymouth

3.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Shortage of physics teachers in the UK worse than ever

Nov 21, 2005

An independent report published today directly links the steep decline in the number of students taking A-level physics to the shortage of expert physics teachers. With over 30% of physics teachers due to retire in the next ...

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.