One of the Kangaroo Maths Team has run the London Marathon and the other went to school with an astronaut. One of them has never been abroad and doesn’t own a passport while the other worked at Disney World for a year.
Steve and Matt – the Kangaroo Maths team – first worked together at a non-selective school in Gloucestershire. GCSE results improved dramatically from 48% (A*-C) to 82% (A*-C), the number of A-classes trebled and they were soon invited to share the magic* of their success by the Local Authority Team (remember those!) at Subject Leader Network Meetings. (Yes, pre-Twitter local Heads of Maths used to meet with each other face-to-face to discuss mathematics!). The Kangaroo Maths website was soon developed as a vehicle to share resources with colleagues.
Steve and Matt continued working together as part of the highly successful LA GlosMaths team – supporting both primary and secondary schools to improve the enjoyment and achievement of mathematics – until the coalition government decided to prematurely end that particular adventure. Matt went off to lead other departments, dramatically improving results to be the highest ranked non-selective school in a different county, and Steve worked regionally and nationally for a MAT supporting leaders and teachers in primary and secondary academies in challenging circumstances to raise standards in mathematics.
Matt and Steve have been Lead Practitioners, ASTs, NCETM PD Leads and SLEs. They have worked on high profile national projects (England and Wales), been part of DfE Expert Groups and worked as contributing authors for Nelson Thornes, Pearson and Oxford University Press.
Matt currently leads a Maths Department in a Worcestershire school and Steve is the Strategic Lead for Mathematics of a Teaching school in Gloucestershire. They are both still very committed and practice the principle-led PLAN-TEACH-ASSESS philosophy that resulted in their original success and firmly believe what happens in the classroom day in, day out is the key to ensuring all pupils achieve in mathematics.
*What is the ‘magic’ ?
– High expectations for all pupils, regardless of their prior attainment
– Planning for progression using carefully structured schemes of work to plan a sequence of lessons that build on prior learning
– Inclusive, quality first teaching including lesson design with clear learning intentions, high demands of pupil involvement and engagement, appropriate use of teacher questioning, modelling and explaining, and regular opportunities for pupils to talk both individually and in groups
– Investment in continuing professional development – staff working collaboratively to support each other, take risks and be innovative