Primary Events

The MA is an accredited NCETM mathematics CPD provider.

8th Annual Primary Professional Development Day

12 October 2019

The Mathematical Association in cooperation with Bucks, Berks and Oxon Maths Hub will hold the 8th Annual Primary Professional Development Day on Saturday, 12th October 2019 at Wycombe High School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Opening Plenary - Ems Lord, NRICH Director

Ems became the NRICH Director in 2015, following her previous role leading one of the country's largest Mathematics Specialist Teacher Programmes. Ems has taught mathematics across the key stages, from Early Years to A Level Further Mathematics, and has worked in a variety of settings including a hospital school.  Her previous roles include supporting schools as a Leading Mathematics Teacher, local authority consultant and as a Chartered Mathematics Teacher.  Ems has taught mathematics education on both BEd and PGCE teacher programmes.  Ems is currently working on her PhD thesis which addresses how we can improve support for pupils learning calculation skills.


Opening Plenary - Ems Lord

Curiouser and Curiouser:

From problem-solving to problem-posing in the primary classroom

As primary school teachers, we are incredibly lucky to work with inquisitive young learners day-in, day-out. Asking questions, investigating their ideas and experimenting are surely essential skills to nurture with young mathematicians?  Sadly, the evidence reveals that their levels of curiosity decreases as they progress through their primary schooling. How can we address this issue? At NRICH, we have been exploring ways to nurture curiosity in the primary classroom. We have trialled our new resources in a number of schools, collected feedback from the teachers and interviewed their pupils. In this opening plenary I will share our findings (some of them might surprise you!) and I'll suggest ways that we have researched which might encourage your learners to become 'curiouser and curiouser’.

Workshops and the Leaders

Katie Crozier and Claire Gerard (jointly), Ems Lord, Ruth Bull, Kate Frood, Ray Huntley, Bernie Westacott, Laurie Jacques.

Ems Lord,  NRICH

Embedding curiosity in the classroom: In this very practical session, which follows up my earlier keynote talk, we'll get to explore more of the activities that the NRICH team has been developing to address the scarcity of curious learners in our classrooms. Be prepared to exercise your mathematical muscles by exploring our latest rich tasks and reflecting on ways to embed them in your classroom.

Ray Huntley, Consultant and freelance mathematics CPD

Using curiosity to enhance reasoning and problem-solving:  Some of the best learning is triggered by curiosity and the need to answer the question 'What if...?'  In this session, participants will explore several classroom-ready activities which lend themselves to triggering curiosity.  The hands-on problems will provide rich opportunities for reasoning and problem-solving strategies to be enhanced, and enjoyed!

Kate Frood, Headteacher at Eleanor Palmer School, Camden.

Raising the Game:  Kate will share learning from a year-long research project in 2018-19 using maths games as an early intervention and, critically, to develop reasoning.  The project ran across 8 schools and involved professional development for a lead teacher and teaching assistant.  The impact, both on fluency and on developing the pupils’ (staff and parents’!) confidence and enjoyment in maths, was fantastic.  This will be a very interactive and fun session centered on playing many of the games!

Ruth Bull, Freelance Maths Advisor and primary school teacher. 

Stimulating Curiosity in the Primary Classroom:  Ooh that’s interesting!  How does that work?  Will that always happen?  Why does that happen?  This workshop will share some starting points to spark learners’ curiosity. Participants will have the opportunity to explore problems ‘new and old’ which will prompt questions in the primary classroom.   Ideas shared will be easily implemented and adapted across the primary age range to promote mathematical thinking and problem solving.

Bernie Westacott, retired Primary Teacher and now Maths Consultant. 

Manipulatives:  Children (and adults) love solving puzzles. You will work through puzzles and problems, many of which can be adapted to engage pupils right across the EYFS and Primary age range. In solving these puzzles, pupils will be engaging with many of the field axioms that underpin mathematics (although these may not be explicitly taught when working with pupils) and will develop key problem-solving heuristics. This will be a hands-on session emphasising the role of manipulatives and other representations.

Michael Hall, member of the joint MA/ATM TC Primary Group

Curiosity, Creativity, Confidence and Competence: This session is for us to explore how these four C’s can contribute to the ’what’ and ‘how’ of generic approaches that enhance reasoning and generality. We will do this by working together on some practical, problem-solving activities.  As with any journey of exploration there are likely to be unexpected moments and surprises along the way. The activities will be mainly KS2 and the generic approaches should apply to learners of all ages.

Katie Crozier, Cambs Lead Maths Practitioner, Claire Gerrard, Deputy Headteacher and Maths Lead in Cambs

Developing Deep Conceptual Understanding of Number in the Early YearsWhat does a child think of when you say 6?  In this workshop, we will explore the counting principles and the use of subitising, representations and structures to support children in the Early Years to develop a deep conceptual understanding of number. We will share some practical ideas from recent Cambridgeshire Early Years Work Groups, which have had a significant impact on the learning of our young children.

Online Booking to open shortly.

7th Primary One Day Conference

13 October 2018

The Mathematical Association in cooperation with Bucks, Berks and Oxon Maths Hub held the Seventh Annual Primary Professional Development Day on Saturday, 13th October 2018 at Wycombe High School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

Online Booking Closed

Reasons to Love Reasoning

Reasoning is at the heart of learning and doing mathematics. But evidence points to reasoning not getting as much attention in mathematics lessons as it might. Is that because fluency and problem solving need to come first? Or because reasoning is only something that a select few children can engage in? In this keynote Mike will explore why it is important that all children get to engage in mathematical reasoning, and why reasoning is complementary to, but not directly dependent upon, fluency and problem solving. In fact, some evidence suggests that reasoning may come first in learning mathematics. We will explore practical strategies for bringing reasoning into the center of all mathematics teaching, and making mathematics learning engaging, challenging and productive.

Keynote Speaker - Professor Mike Askew

Mike is a distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, having previously held Professorships at King’s College, University of London and Monash University, Melbourne. Originally a primary school teacher, Mike moved into teacher education and developed his interest in research.  He has directed many research projects including the influential ‘Effective Teachers of Numeracy in Primary Schools’ and was deputy director of the five-year Leverhulme Numeracy Research Programme. His books include: ‘Transforming Primary Mathematics’, ‘A Practical Guide to Transforming Primary Mathematics’ and the popular ‘Maths for Mums and Dads’ (with Rob Eastaway). 

Mike believes that mathematical activity can be, and should be, engaging and enjoyable for all learners and that the majority of learners can come to see themselves as mathematicians, in the sense of having confidence in their ability to do maths.  From April 2018 Mike is pleased to be the President of the Mathematical Association.

Workshops throughout the day include the following:

Katie Crozier and Claire Gerrard - Numberless Word Problems: How to encourage mathematical reasoning and avoid ‘number-plugging’

When presented with word problems, there is a conflict between context and quantity.   Children often resort to ‘number plugging’ and default to the favoured operation of addition. During this session, Katie and Claire will share some tried and tested class teaching strategies to encourage children to think more about the context of word problems and to use mathematical thinking to suggest potential solutions. Participants in the workshop will explore different ways of presenting word problems, including removing the numbers, to help children make sense of the maths involved and reach well-reasoned, accurate solutions.

Alison Eves – Using Systematic Reasoning to Solve Problems … and have fun!

This workshop will use some of the materials developed for the Royal Institution’s “Off the Shelf” (OTS) Primary Maths Masterclasses. By adopting a systematic approach to reasoning pupils can have the satisfaction of not only solving a problem, but also knowing that they have found a complete solution. In addition they can then use that reasoning to generalise and solve similar problems. As part of the workshop Alison will explain how these OTS materials can easily be used to enhance your students’ love of reasoning, via engagement with the Royal Institution’s Maths Masterclass programme for primary schools. (And with a minimum of time commitment from the busy teacher!)

Sue Gifford – Developing Pattern Awareness in the Early Years

Young children’s awareness of pattern varies greatly and predicts their later mathematical achievement – but it can be taught. Following Australian research and based on a current project with teachers of three to five year olds, this session considers practical ways of developing children’s pattern awareness and its relation to mathematical thinking.

Ray Huntley - Developing Reasoning to Support Problem Solving

In this session, we will look at a number of 'classroom-ready' activities which involve solving problems using reasoning skills. They cover number and geometry and use minimal equipment beyond a few cubes, counters, paper and scissors. Pair and small group work will be strongly encouraged, even enforced, and you will go away with ideas and insights to get your children reasoning.

Laurie Jacques –Teaching with Variation: Planning for key points, difficult points and critical points in learning mathematics

In this session, Laurie will offer some case studies from a primary professional development programme that has facilitated teachers to begin designing and teaching using variation. Laurie will provide a brief background to teaching with variation and share examples of tasks that teachers have developed in the last 12 months as part of their professional learning. Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to consider their own practice and work on some mathematical tasks designed with procedural variation as a foundation.

Jane Liddle – Mastery beyond Number and Calculation

Much of the focus of teaching for Mastery has been on Number and Calculation to date, but as a Mastery Lead for BBO Maths Hub, Jane is often asked what mastery looks like in other areas such as Measures and Geometry. This session will be a hands on exploration to try out some activities to address aspects of these topics.

Lucy Sayce-Browne – Let’s Talk about Reasoning

When asked to explain their reasoning children will often answer with ‘I just know it’. They struggle to find the words to talk about the maths and so are unable to form chains of reasoning. Their understanding becomes stuck in the moment and progress stagnates. By providing pupils with rich and frequent opportunities to talk about maths and by scaffolding that talk we can help to develop pupils reasoning skills as well as strengthening conceptual understanding. In this session we will explore strategies for developing maths talk through working on simple but rich tasks that can be taken straight into the classroom.

Programme for the Day

Time                    Event

1000-1030           Registration and refreshments

1030-1130           Opening Plenary

1130-1140           Break

1140-1240           Workshop 1

1240-1330           Lunch and MA publications

1330-1430           Workshop 2

1430-1440           Break

1440-1540            Workshop 3

1540-1600            Refreshments and evaluations

The event is held on a Saturday to avoid problems with cover.  It is priced so that schools can afford to send two members of staff (about half the price of a typical LA course) - staff who enjoy the day’s training together are more likely to discuss and implement what they have experienced on their return to school.

The cost of the day is £70 for members of The Mathematical Association.

£95 to non-members who will receive a £25 voucher redeemable against membership.  

All members of a school with Institutional Membership are entitled to come at the members’ price.  

Publications from The Mathematical Association will be on sale on the day.

We provide a lovely lunch and refreshments, and do everything possible to make it a great day out for those who attend.

The feedback on last year’s sessions was excellent.  Please do consider sending at least one member of staff, as it is rare to have so many experts in the field of primary mathematics together for the day.  It really is an opportunity not to be missed!  

We will contact delegates nearer the time giving more detailed directions and the finalised schedule for the day.

Download an 2019 application form not available.

Online Booking Closed

Important Booking Information for Applicants

Receipt of your conference fee will book your place, please be aware your place is not secure until payment is received. 

No refunds are given once a place has been booked, but other names can be substituted if the person registering cannot attend.

We reserve the right to change the programme. 


Primary Maths Challenge

Primary Mathematics Challenge

The PMC is a nationwide challenge for pupils who want to get involved in some interesting and stimulating mathematics. Aimed at the top 60% of pupils in Years 5 and 6 England and Wales, P6 and P7 in Scotland, and Years 6 and 7 in Northern Ireland, the PMC is taken by tens of thousands of children each year.