The pilot phase: Enabling Access to Further Mathematics

The pilot phase of the Further Mathematics Network was known as the "Enabling Access to Further Mathematics" project. This was managed by MEI (Mathematics in Education and Industry) and funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

The Pilot Project

A project specifically designed to find alternative models for the successful delivery of Further Mathematics with the following vision:

  • The country is covered by groups of schools, colleges and universities, working together to offer Further Mathematics to students in their area.
  • Every student who can benefit from Further Mathematics will have access to study it.

How the Pilot Project worked

  • Students’ learning was managed by a project tutor, through a ‘Further Mathematics Lead Centre’.
  • Students’ study was structured using purpose-written web resources. www.resources.mei.org.uk
  • The web resources were used in conjunction with MEI textbooks.
  • The MEI Project Coordinator and the project team offered training, support and advice.
  • Linking insitutions:
    • The pilot Lead Centres worked with local schools and colleges to provide their students with Further Mathematics tuition.
    • The pilot Lead Centres also organised ‘Study Days’, which could be attended by students from schools who provide Further Mathematics teaching in-house.


How the tutoring worked

Project tutors could enable students to study Further Mathematics when teaching/tutorial support was not available at their school/college:

  • The tutors were linked to project ‘Lead Centres’
  • The tutors needed to have a contact to liaise with in the students’ school/college Mathematics department
  • In some cases a combination of in-house and external tutoring was appropriate
    There were several models:
  • Tutors visited students in their schools
  • Students attended their Lead Centre
  • Videoconferencing
  • Email, fax and telephone

What worked best depended on local circumstances. A combination of these techniques was often found to be most appropriate and effective.

Income

  • Schools/colleges claimed qualification funding from the LSC for students using the project, exactly as they would for other AS/A levels. Lead Centres charged schools for tuition at a rate that meant that schools and colleges could break-even, once textbook costs and exam entries had been paid.
  • Obviously, by improving the mathematics provision to their students, schools and colleges were doing much more than breaking-even educationally!

Pilot Further Maths Centres

  • Initially five Lead Centres were involved.
  • The pilot extended to 11 Centres, at various stages of development, tutoring a total of over 200 students:
    • Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (Bucks)
    • Exeter College (Devon)
    • Hertfordshire LEA
    • University of East Anglia/Norfolk LEA
    • University of Leicester
    • University of Loughborough
    • UWE (Bristol)
    • University of Leeds
    • University of Manchester
    • University of Warwick
    • University of Wolverhampton

Did it work?

  • Feedback from students and teachers was extremely positive.
  • The results exceeded our expectations:
  • Students and teachers also reported very valuable side-effects from the ‘supported self-study’ Lead Centre tutoring model:
    • Students’ performance in their standard Mathematics AS/A level was enhanced
    • Students learned to learn more independently
    • Students had the opportunity to meet and work with students from other schools and colleges who were also keen on mathematics