room KA 209
Structures for the professional development of mathematics teachers in English vocational education
Dalby, Diane, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom Noyes, Andrew, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
The Centres for Excellence in Mathematics programme, a major new government initiative in England, has recently been introduced into post-16 education. The programme focusses on developing understanding and evidence of effective classroom practices in England’s Further Education colleges, particularly for low-attaining students. This paper draws on findings from a current Nuffield-funded project, Mathematics in FE Colleges (MiFEC) to explore the context into which this new national programme is being introduced and the challenges to successful implementation. At present there is no national structure for professional development and colleges make their own decisions about local models, which include collaborative teacher learning, input from external experts and cascading of training. The transition to a national system of college networks and a coordinated evidence-based approach has the potential to address current weaknesses but the independence of colleges and variability of practice presents challenges. Evidence from the MiFEC project shows that the foundations are already present in many colleges for the development of effective college-based professional learning communities. Nesting these within wider networks, with a focus on evidence-based teaching approaches, provides a structure with the potential to build on current strengths, bringing together practitioners and researchers in more effective collaboration.