Maths Memos

ACME Conference


Are you interested in mathematics education policy issues? Do you want to discuss them with the great and the good?

ACME is holding its conference on 9 July 2015. The theme of this year's conference is 'Mathematically Thinking'. During the conference delegates will be encouraged to discuss the policy changes needed in the next 5 years.

The conference is a key part of ACME's work and is a chance for the mathematics community and others to hear from ministers and shadow ministers and to discuss issues with them and other influential figures.

The conference delegates will include ministers and parliamentarians, classroom teachers, academics, policy makers, education researchers and others with an interest in mathematical education.

Do you want a chance to have your say?

A Question Time panel chaired by Warwick Mansell will allow all delegates a chance to put their questions to those involved in mathematics in various ways.

The panellists include Sharon Witherspoon, Director, Nuffield Foundation, Mike Warriner, Director of Engineering at Google, Sue Johnston-Wilder, University of Warwick and Professor Richard Craster, Head of Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London.

So, if this seems like an interesting prospect, please sign up here!

What do you have to look forward to? 

Here are some quotes from key speakers in previous years. We've aligned these with some of ACME's current positions on key issues in mathematics education to give you a flavour of how they relate to ACME's current work. 

ACME blueprint


"I know I don't have to convince anybody in this room about the importance of mathematics nor to explain why mathematics is a universal entitlement for every young person rather than just a minority pursuit for the few, why maths is vital for all of our futures and how maths is already governing the world around us and what we do." Elizabeth Truss, 2013

"We need to be fostering a far deeper understanding of mathematical concepts so that we don't turn out yet another generation of adults who say they simply don't like maths." Karen Mills, 2012

"Fundamental to children's future is a basic competency in mathematics, and this level of competency drives the competitive nature of the nation and provides future life opportunities for students." Andrew Hall, 2011  

Maths for all to 18


"We should demand, like the rest of the world, that everybody who is in full-time education does some mathematics post-16. We've tried all sorts of ingenious ways around it for decades, nothing has happened, so we need to be a bit more brutal." Professor Alison Wolf, 2012

"Studying mathematics up to the age of 18 is the norm in so many other countries, and we need to catch up. There will be resource implications, particularly in terms of numbers of suitably qualified teachers, and we need to get the structure right. But, if other countries can do it, then why not us?" Professor Dame Julia Higgins, 2011

 "It is clear that we need greater incentives in the system so that more than one in five students continue with their maths studies in some way, shape or form post-16." Kevin Brennan, 2012


 International comparisons and mathematics education


"I don't have any objections per se about comparing the performance of our pupils at that age with the performance of other pupils in other countries. It's what we do with those comparisons that I think is the really important thing." Professor Jeremy Hodgen, 2013


The maths curriculum


"We say, 'Oh it's the Curriculum.' It's not the Curriculum. The Curriculum has to be mediated by the teachers and the teachers have to be involved in it." Professor Celia Hoyles, 2013

"We live in a fast-moving world and our students need to understand mathematics - that is some appreciation of the deep structure and connectivity within the subject - if they are to choose to use it in as yet unknown situations. But such understanding takes time to develop." Jackie Fairchild, 2011


Maths education policy


"ACME continues to be a robust and rigorous voice championing the cause of mathematical education and as an independent committee I know that what you do is provide a comprehensive and effective challenge to politicians when it comes to a whole range of issues from curriculum design through to professional development." Stephen Twigg, 2013

"Everyone has his or her own personal experience of schools, teachers and how they were taught mathematics. But while anecdotal evidence has its place, it cannot be the basis for policy." Professor Stephen Sparks, 2012

"ACME believes that it's important for the mathematics community to work together to ensure that the curriculum is fit for purpose, promotes effective, and enjoyable, learning and teaching of mathematics, and prepares young people well for employment and for further, and higher, education." Professor Dame Julia Higgins, 2011 

Teaching and professional development


"Raising the quality of teaching by focusing simply on admissions to initial teacher training is only a small component of a much bigger picture. We also need to focus on those currently in teaching now and it's through Continuing Professional Development, CPD, that the skills and expertise of teachers will be enhanced and sharpened." Professor Dame Julia Higgins, 2010

"Critically what I believe is that teachers should see themselves, not as separate from the rest of the academic and intellectual life of the nation but fully integrated into it and that means that we need to have successful programmes of continuous professional development." Michael Gove, 2010

"Every single trainee teacher I meet is very concerned about how they do their CPD, what opportunities they're given, how they can achieve the best for their pupils within their lessons." Dean Rowley, 2013


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