Maths Week – Maths Hub Exchange Programme

This week has been Maths Week in England and we are pleased to celebrate this by sharing a story from Parkhead Community Primary School.

11th November 2019

Mr. John Bee from Parkhead Community Primary school in Winlaton is currently in Shanghai taking part in a prestigious teacher exchange, focusing on mathematics, with a partner school in China.

Mr Bee is among around 100 expert mathematics teachers from schools
across England taking part in an exchange as part of the Maths Hubs
Programme. Parkhead Community Primary school is working with
the Great North Maths Hub.

There are 37 Maths Hubs, spread across England, each led by a school with a record of high achievement in maths, and of supporting improvements in maths teaching and learning in neighbouring schools.

The purpose of the exchange is to further develop the understanding and
implementation of mastery approaches to teaching maths in Mr Bee’s school, and in local partner schools he will be working with during the school year 2019/20. Yesterday Mr Bee met representatives from the NCETM and the department for education.

Today he is attending the official opening of the exchange programme at Shanghai Normal University where we will be officially welcomed by representatives from all over China with dignitaries and envoys being flown in from Beijing. After the welcome ceremony, he is attending lectures by Professor Gu on teaching for mastery and the principles behind it. Mr Bee has reported today from China; he says ‘this is surreal because I used Gu in my master’s degree thesis!’

Mr Bee is looking forward to meeting his partner Shanghai teacher and he has been asked to teach a lesson to the Chinese students which he is very excited about!

12th November 2019

Update from Mr Bee in Shanghai.

Morning from China!
Today I was welcomed with my partner teacher to one of my host schools.

We were greeted by children with flowers, our names on the big welcome screen and had a school tour.

We had a small conference with the head teacher and she was telling us about differences between China and England. Her school has 4400 children and 100 classes. Lessons last for 35 minutes and behaviour is exemplary. It’s so different!

14th November 2019

Over the past few days I have been researching the curriculum design, coherence in progression of lesson design and how children make small steps in learning throughout the lessons.

There is a real culture of learning amongst teachers who regularly drop into other lessons, make notes and refine their practice. I attended a Teacher Research Group with 50 teachers who all listened and spoke passionately about teaching approaches and some showcased what they have been doing in their class to enhance teaching and learning.

It has been interesting to see how ‘simple’ and focused the teaching has been and it is clear to see how stem sentences, specific and technical mathematical vocabulary and the role of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations all tie in with effective teaching and learning.

About the programme

This is one part of the Teaching for Mastery Programme, run by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) in conjunction with the Maths Hubs Programme, and funded by the DfE. Funding for the four-year programme, initially amounting to £41m, was launched in July 2016.

The group of teachers, all of whom have completed training as Mastery Specialists in a programme run by the NCETM and Maths Hubs, will be visiting Shanghai in November 2019, and hosting their partner teachers from Shanghai in English schools in March 2020.

This is the sixth teacher exchange with schools in Shanghai since the Maths Hubs Programme was launched in autumn 2014.

For more information, see or contact

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