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A Note mainly for Maths Teachers

At school I studied Maths to A level and then at University read aeronautical engineering, a course which at that time probably had a higher maths content than any other non-maths degree. After twelve years in industry I retrained as a teacher. I was a teacher for twenty two years before I took early retirement following heart surgery. During my teaching career I have taught some maths, but my teaching qualification is in science.

For the last fifteen years of my teaching career I was fortunate enough to teach at a small independent school for ninety boys of above average ability, where Ofsted rated the Maths teaching as outstanding and the Maths Teacher as inspired. (They said nice things about the science teaching and the science teacher too, but that is irrelevant to this Page.) As a result all the boys came to my science lessons with all the required maths knowledge and skills.

Since I took early retirement I have been doing private tutoring in science and maths to Years 7 to 11, age 11 to 16, and also young and mature adults. I did not initially want to teach maths, because I have no teaching qualification in maths, but I was finding that many of my science students did not have the mathematical knowledge or skills (not even their times tables) to cope with the science. I found myself needing to spent a lot of time helping them with their maths, and eventually and very reluctantly I agreed to teach maths as a subject in its own right. Initially I stressed to all my students and their parents that I had no qualification in maths teaching, but I gave this up once I realised that neither did most of their maths teachers at their schools.... (I had realised a long time earlier that many, perhaps most, of those who set themselves up as private tutors do not have any qualifications in the subjects they offer to teach, often no teaching or other qualifications at all.)

It is very sad, but today many young people are entering, even leaving, secondary school without even the most basic maths skills, or of any understanding of the relevance of maths to the real world. These Pages are designed to help such people. For this reason although many of them are concerned with quite basic concepts my target readership is primarily computer- and calculator-using teenagers and young and mature adults, several years older than the children of the age at which the concept is most appropriately introduced.

© Barry Gray October 2013