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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Young number crunchers turn to the Far East for inspiration with their maths

ByCharley Williams

Jan 25, 2017

NUMBER crunching students have been showcasing their skills with a master class in mathematics Shanghai-style.

Year six pupils from Eldon Grove Academy, Hartlepool, demonstrated their flair for fractions at an open classroom event under the expert tuition of teachers Huang Wei-yi of the Shanghai Huangpu Luwan No1 Central Primary School and Peng Yu-yun of the First Central Primary School of Jingan District, China.

The live lesson, watched by dozens of head teachers from across the North East, at Hartlepool College of Further Education, was the culmination of a prestigious primary mathematics global exchange programme. 

The Archimedes North-East Maths Hub, hosted by The Carmel Education Trust, funded by the DfE, and coordinated by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, aims to raise achievements in maths by learning from experts in Shanghai, where teaching methods are considered some of the most effective in the world.

Eldon Gove Academy primary maths mastery specialist Valda Varadinek-Skelton spent two weeks in Shanghai with fellow maths specialist Natalie Ruddell, of Cotsford Junior School, Horden, absorbing Chinese teaching methods, which secure their students a global position at the top of the class.

“The Chinese strategy for maths involves mastering knowledge of numbers and embedding it in the curriculum from a very young age,” said Mrs Varadinek-Skelton.

“They ensure the highest quality of resources and teaching underpin everything within the foundation of understanding. It’s not just about learning for the test it’s about the depth of learning and really being able to understand and link mathematical concepts.

“While in Shanghai we got to see some fantastic maths lessons, but the exchange programme is not just about replicating the Chinese way of teaching it is about bringing the best ideas to our school and adapting them to our own teaching methods for our own students.”

The five ‘big ideas’ which Eldon Grove Academy will be including in their maths curriculum following their visit to Shanghai will include:

  • Knowing the facts – learning the basics including times tables for fast recall
  • Helping pupils create a mental image of maths
  • Encouraging deeper thinking
  • Connecting mathematical learning
  • Problem solving

Executive headteacher of Eldon Grove Academy Mme Julie Deville added: “Our students have done a marvellous job today and taken on all aspects of the Shanghai teaching methods including standing to give answers, speaking in complex mathematical sentences and adapting to a faster pace of learning.

“At Eldon Grove Academy we are passionate about giving our pupils the best education possible which means that we strive to secure every pupil in our academy every possible opportunity to develop their learning.”