Home > Functional Maths, Market research, Specification, Training, Uncategorized > GUEST BLOG: Examiner tells us how teachers are reacting to the new Functional Maths spec

GUEST BLOG: Examiner tells us how teachers are reacting to the new Functional Maths spec

We invited Will Rigby, an AQA Functional Maths examiner, to tell us how teachers are responding to Functional.  What they like and what they dislike.  Will’s been helping to host the recent AQA Launch events, which has given him direct access to teachers’ views.  Will also shared a few views of his own:

We have had lots of very positive Heads of Dept (mostly) at the launches who see the value both educationally and morally of what we are trying to achieve… To educate, enthuse, and develop thinking skills for life, rather than teaching solely to a test.

What teachers really fear is that they will be forced to teach to a Functional exam and this will be in their 6 A* to Cs or the school record card.  This, of course is a million miles from teaching Mathematics functionally.  One always has to remember that teachers are subject to the guidance of Heads, Secretaries of State, county advisors, who are themselves under pressure to deliver one thing… results. And grades.  This shifts the emphasis away from preparation for further study, developing logical reasoning, or engaging in mathematical concepts for their own sake. 

We’ve been hearing that this situation is bugging teachers most, because many desperately want to develop their classroom teaching in Functional terms but are constrained by the above.  I meet so many that welcome Functionality.  These are delightful people who teach and care and want the best for their students.

Equally, many staff are temporary or non -specialists and are therefore not confident delivering in a Functional manner.

These then are our stumbling blocks and we need influential people in the public eye supporting teachers in this seed-change and, in particular, getting away from the quick-fix mentality.  If league tables were not the priority that they currently are, we could make Functional a more valuable field of study.  The rich tasks that can be developed from Functional methods of teaching help the young adult to become more engaged in maths, and in the longer term will yield a significantly more numerate work-force.

As a country we have a great opportunity to re-energise education with the 3 Functional skills….we just need politicians to shout it from the roof tops!

  1. December 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Good to know there are some new resources coming for Functional. Keep up the good work.

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