Two maths teachers from Maths Hub Sussex schools went on a research trip to Shanghai in China to look in detail at how maths is taught in schools there and begin to explore ways in which elements of the Shanghai teaching approach might be introduced into lessons in England.
The teachers, Miss Palmer from Chailey School and Mrs Friis from St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, are part of a group of more than 60 English secondary school maths teachers participating in an exchange as part of a two-year research project.
The project is run by the national Maths Hubs programme, coordinated by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and funded by the Department for Education (DfE).
Miss Palmer and Mrs Friis spent two weeks in Shanghai in September visiting Jin Cai Experimental Middle School and Minhang Experimental Primary School, where they observed lessons, took part in teacher research groups, as well as meeting the students and learning more about the organisation of the schools. Both Shanghai teachers, Mr Ji Changzhen and Mr Hu Yiqun, have just arrived in England to teach alongside Miss Palmer, Mrs Friis and the Maths Faculty during November.
They were welcomed at an official ceremony in Chailey School library on Wednesday November 4 by David Whelpton, Chair of Chailey School Governors, who opened the proceedings.
He was followed by Mrs Lesley Young, Chailey School Headteacher and Mr Rob Carter, Headteacher of St Paul’s Catholic College. Our guests at the ceremony included Heads of Maths Faculties from East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove schools, representatives from the Local Authority, Sophie Thomas, the Headteacher of Newick Primary School, and Governors and the Senior Leadership Team from Chailey School.
Our visitors were given individual welcome speeches delivered in Chinese Mandarin by seven students (including two adults) who attend weekly Chinese Mandarin lessons at Chailey School. They presented Mr Changzhen and Mr Yiquun with gifts.
Mrs Young, Headteacher at Chailey School, is very positive about what the two Chinese teachers can bring to our Sussex schools. “We are very excited to be involved in this project and it will be very interesting to see what we can take from the Shanghai approach. Maths is a real strength of our school and we hope this project will add further ideas and approaches to the way we teach Maths for the benefit of all our pupils.”
Report and picture contributed by Chailey School.