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Calculator & maths questions

Maths to 18 (and if not maths, what?) Also: in-person PD & talking to governors

10 January 2023

Teacher Tapp is coming into 2023 with 10,000 of you sharing thoughts every day & a LOT of policy to start influencing (Oh hii Labour Party 👋) We also want to add some kickass new features & so we need a PRINCIPAL SOFTWARE ENGINEER. Could it be YOU?

It probably isn’t you, as you likely work in a school & not in software engineering. But we’re led to believe that many of you know other muggles (non-teachers) who DO work in these kinds of fields. If so, please share!

And if you need more incentive to share this remember: the better this engineer, the more we can tweak the streaks system – maybe even giving streak holidays 🙊

Maths to 18?

It’s been a while since there were any proper new education policies (maybe something to do with the rapid turnover of education ministers this summer 🙄) And it’s been even longer since one announced by the Prime Minister (ditto!) So the PM’s ‘ambition’ to have all young people study maths in some form to 18 caught our eye, and we wanted to know what YOU thought…

TLDR: You are not fans!

Over half of you disagreed with the policy proposal; a third of you ‘strongly’. Tappers over in The Netherlands shared your opinion. Whilst there were a similar amount of Dutch teachers in favour of maths to 18, they didn’t disagree as strongly as English teachers (perhaps because they’re not going to have to implement it.)

England vs Netherlands

Back in England, some of you are (slightly) more in favour than others. For example, 32% of primary teachers agreed with the policy, compared to 25% of secondary (perhaps because they’re not going to have to implement it either!)

Those of you who had studied maths to 18 were also more in favour than those who gave it up at 16. Interestingly, this wasn’t solely restricted to Maths teachers. 36% of non-maths teachers who did maths to 18 also were in favour of maths to 18!

In your own words

We gave you the opportunity to tell the government exactly what you thought about the idea of compulsory maths to 18. Much of the sentiment is summed up by this Tapper:

Solve the maths teacher recruitment crisis before bringing in this policy and bring it in by asking those actually in education!

Thank you to the 3,000+ Tappers who took the time to type a reply. Here’s the 6 bullet summary of your responses that we’ll send on to Number 10:

  • The policy is a distraction from more important issues in education, such as teacher recruitment, retention and catching up on pandemic lost learning.
  • It ignoes ignores that many students struggle with math, and may turn them away from education.
  • There are not enough math teachers to implement the policy.
  • It would be better to focus on practical skills, such as financial literacy, rather than purely academic subjects.
  • The policy should be appropriately pitched for all students, and not set an unrealistic high bar that isn’t achievable for some students.
  • The policy does not address the types of reform needed to prepare students for the current socio-economic context.

If not maths, then what?

So you’re not on board with maths, but is there a subject you think all young should study to 18?

Well, no, not really!

Two-thirds of you didn’t think that any subjects should be compulsory to 18.

Of those who did pick a subject, English and Maths came out on top. Interestingly, the third core subject – Science – was not popular as a compulsory subject, with Computing and PE more often chosen as preferred compulsory subjects!

Subjects to study to 18

Amongst secondary teachers, each subject was most often picked by its own specialist teachers – well, we all think our own subject’s best, don’t we! – apart from English, which was more often picked by language teachers!

Talking to governors

Away from politics and back to schools – what about the people who lead the strategic direction on home turf? School governors often enjoy reading about Teacher Tapp as it gives a window into school life. But how often do teachers get to speak with governors?

Not as much as they used to! There’s been a marked decrease in discussions with (non-staff) governors since we first asked about this back in 2017. Now over half of you have NEVER had a conversation about school matters. Obviously this isn’t a one-way street, so we’ll let the National Governors Association know & report back on what they say.

Talk over time

The return of in-person PD

Following the pivot to online courses and seminars for professional development during the pandemic, in-person training is back, with nearly a third of you getting out from behind the laptop in the last 12 months, around twice as many as in 2021!

Having said that, online PD is still the most popular type with just under half of you having taken part in this format despite a small drop from 2021.

Types of PD

Does it make a difference who is delivering these courses? To look at SEND as one example, opinions on this have changed over time. Back in January 2020, most of you felt that an inset with your school’s SENCO was the best way to learn, but now inset provided by an outside specialist is a distinct preference.


Either way, the PD seems to be paying off! Nearly half of you report that your school’s provision is helping you become a better teacher. Although, the more senior you are in your school, the more you seem convinced of this… funny that!

Don’t forget…

The £3,000 golden ticket prize draw takes place THIS SUNDAY.

If you’re based in an eligible school, and answered enough questions, you’ll have codes in your ‘rewards’ section of the app. (Get into them via vouchers on the homepage).

Look out for the announcement of the winning code on our social channels… and don’t forget to check your codes on the 15th!

And finally…

The most read tip this week was: Thinking deeply about retrieval practice

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