ACME's new report - Beginning teaching: best in class?
13 November 2015
ACME has published its latest report, Beginning teaching: best in class?.
It looks at what high-quality initial teacher education (ITE) for
teachers of mathematics should look like.
Robert Barbour, Chair of the ACME
ITE Working Group said: 'Everyone is in agreement that
improving the mathematical skills of young people in England is
essential. Only with high-quality teachers will we achieve this
goal. We need opportunities for trainee teachers to become both
confident with mathematics and skilled in how to teach it.
Ten years of patient work is needed to move England nearer to
the top of the class as regards ITE. We cannot afford to get this
wrong. Without the teachers, everything else is built on
To get and keep high-quality teachers of mathematics it is
imperative that all those involved in ITE and those supporting
newly qualified teachers have a shared understanding of what
constitutes high-quality mathematics-specific ITE. A review of
international jurisdictions showed an emphasis on
mathematics-specific training and mathematics-specific mentoring,
strong linkages between professional development and ITE and an
investment in critical evaluation skills during and after ITE.
Looking at England, it is clear that while there is good
practice in relation to some of these elements, there should be
more consistency across ITE courses, irrespective of the ITE route
taken. The report calls on ITE providers, senior leaders and the
mathematics community to articulate a shared standard for the ITE
of teachers of mathematics. In some cases, for example the
provision of Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses and
mathematics-specific mentoring, regulation and accreditation is
Robert Barbour, added: 'Although
Ofsted reports suggest that the vast majority of ITE provision is
good, ACME's analysis suggests that there are inconsistencies in
mathematics-specific provision and the support structures provided.
We hope that all of those involved in providing and supporting ITE
provision for teachers of mathematics will sign up to the
principles and recommendations ACME has identified so as to ensure
that all mathematics teachers are ready for the challenges they'll
We need to be much clearer about
the subject knowledge appropriate to enter ITE and the
mathematics-specific knowledge and teaching skills that should be
gained during ITE. We need to agree on a system for
mathematics-specific mentoring and identify how best to embed
critical evaluation skills in ITE. We also need to better align ITE
and professional development, as many international jurisdictions
ACME sets out principles about the standard required in order to
equip teachers of mathematics with the skills they will need.
Although some of these would be a challenge for ITE providers and
schools, ACME believes that these are a modest step towards
achieving the best practice seen internationally.
In the final section of its report, ACME identifies some
challenges to ITE and argues that a long-term and overarching
strategic plan for the ITE of teachers of mathematics is