Spotlight on LLMEs – Developing Core Maths Pedagogy

Hear from a maths teacher about the professional development she leads for her local Maths Hub


Spotlight on LLMEs – Developing Core Maths Pedagogy

Local leaders of mathematics education (LLMEs) are the people responsible for leading Maths Hubs professional development at a local level through a Maths Hub. They combine a passion for professional development with expertise in teaching maths and a desire to lead system change. Their understanding of their local context and the national landscape for mathematics teaching ensures that the professional development they provide is truly bespoke. Working with small groups of teachers, often for more than one academic year, ensures that they get to know participants well and can adapt their offering to meet their evolving needs. And they are almost always practicing teachers themselves.

In our ‘Spotlights’ series, we meet local leaders of mathematics education across England, in all phases, from Early Years to post-16, to find out more about who they are and what they offer.

Jenny Cains teaches maths at Chipping Campden School in Gloucestershire. Having taught at the school for almost ten years, she currently leads on Core Maths, which the school calls Mathematical Studies. She is a passionate advocate for Core Maths, citing its relevance to other subjects with mathematical content and to life outside of school as key factors, as well as the community that exists amongst Core Maths teachers. In addition to leading Work Groups for GLOW Maths Hub, she is a Core Maths Specialist Lead for the AMSP.

How did you first get involved with the NCETM and the Maths Hubs Programme?
GLOW Maths Hub has a very high profile locally and I’d known about the hub for a number of years, so when the opportunity arose to join the GLOW team I jumped at the chance. I now work one day a week as the Assistant Maths Hub Lead (Post 16), which means I oversee post-16 professional development for the hub, as well as leading my own Work Groups as an LLME. It can be quite daunting delivering CPD because you're acutely aware of how hard it is for colleagues to get time out of school. I really want to make it worth participants’ time, so it’s important to know how to deliver CPD that is really carefully designed and evidence-informed.

What does your work as an LLME involve?
This year I'm fortunate to be leading four Work Groups for GLOW - Developing Core Maths Pedagogy, Sustaining Teaching for Mastery and two Years 5-8 Continuity groups. Whilst I have been involved with the other Work Groups before, this is my first time leading the Core Maths Work Group. I’m really excited to be leading this particular Work Group, as teaching Core Maths is my big passion. This year, we're meeting for three full-day, face-to-face sessions across the year. I work hard to ensure that I'm offering a variety of different activities in the sessions, and exploring pedagogical approaches such as group discussion, engaging with research, and collaborative planning. Participants are asked to try out new ideas with their classes between sessions and we come back together to explore the impact of this in the next session.

What are the challenges of being an LLME?
One of main challenges I have faced when planning my Developing Core Maths Pedagogy Work Group has been trying narrow down what I want to achieve in each Work Group session. I have so many ideas about what we could do and sometimes I need to remind myself not to try and squeeze in too much! It's important to give participants enough space and time to discuss ideas with each other and share good practice. I also always leave time in my sessions for participants to come together to evaluate the ideas we’ve trialled between sessions and to reflect on how they could be assimilated into their own practice. The aim is to produce something tangible that they can take back to school with them. 

What do you most enjoy about your work being an LLME?
Easily my favourite part of being an LLME for GLOW Maths Hub is getting to meet and work with colleagues across a range of different schools and colleges. It’s very easy to exist in the bubble of your own school, so it’s really valuable to have the opportunity to get together with colleagues from other settings who also teach your subject. It's been so interesting to see how other maths departments operate, to learn from their good practice, and to share my own. It’s also rewarding to think I’m part of something that is having a positive impact on the teaching of maths across my local area.

Interested to know more?

Find out how you can get involved in Developing Core Maths Pedagogy or even become an LLME yourself.

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