MEP Demonstration Project: Report
(April 1997)

This project essentially started in September 1995, although it was conceived and some preliminary work done during the previous 6 months. It relates directly to the recommendations made for mathematics teaching and learning by Professors Werner Blum and David Burghes at the first Gatsby Seminar on Mathematics Education. These recommendations have been expanded and refined and the latest version is given in Appendix 1. This work also builds on the feasibility study undertaken during 1994/95 into the provision of mathematics courses related to initiatives stated in the Technology Enhancement Program (TEP). This study showed that mathematics teachers would be keen to use applications in coursework and teaching provided appropriate guidance and support was available. Teachers were also concerned that the revised National Curriculum did not spell out clearly what was required and they felt that more specific schemes of work were needed.

Given the impact that this initiative has made in such a short period, it seems appropriate to provide an interim report outlining what has been achieved and signalling the challenges ahead.


A brief outline of our recommendations and what we hope to achieve with Y10 and Y11 cohorts in our demonstration project was sent to about 400 schools (mostly TEP schools but with the addition of Kassel Project schools and other schools in the South West). Invitations were given to attend initial informatory meetings which were held in London, Leeds and Exeter.

Representatives from about 120 schools attended these meetings (held on Saturdays in October and November, 1995) and these were invited to apply to become project schools. There were three distinct categories of schools:

We have been both excited and overwhelmed by the response. We now have over 90 schools who have volunteered to become project schools (see Appendix 2) of which over 70 have applied to become full pilot schools.

The schools are of all types:

and include rural, suburban, urban and inner city schools ranging in size from very small schools to large comprehensives. These are located throughout England and Wales, although we do have more schools in the South West where more invitations were issued.

We had originally expected to work with about 15 to 20 schools but we do not wish to diminish the enthusiasm shown by mathematics teachers and hope that in some way we will be able to work with all the volunteer schools, although we will keep to our suggested number of inner pilot schools.


As the potential scale of the project increased, we felt it important to capitalise on the available expertise from our project schools. We are achieving this by having regular meetings of interested teachers, with working groups formed to pursue particular aspects of the project:

It is crucial that what we develop is both feasible and appropriate for school mathematics departments and the close involvement of experienced teachers will help us meet this objective.


Our original plan envisaged the development of

but early in the project, and after a thorough review of available resources, particularly the three texts used most in schools (SMP, Holderness, Vickers), it was felt important that comprehensive resources were produced for teaching in Y10 and Y11.

Our emphasis on whole class teaching and raising expectations led us to propose a resources framework consisting of

Details of the content of these are given in Appendix 3.

The Schemes of Work group has designed the framework for differentiated ability groups, based on Key Stage 3 results and with the stated aim of achieving enhanced attainment by the end of Key Stage 4. This is summarised in the table below.


Revised Framework

RouteNC Entry Level (KS3)NC Levels to be coveredPossible upper limit GCSE grades
Standard< 5 5-7D/C

The Teacher Support working group has begun the task of providing starting points to be recommended for use by teachers in introducing topics. The work of the group will be extended over the next few months by asking all our group members to provide ideas and suggestions. The team will be further strengthened by using a number of consultants who will both moderate the work and provide material. This will supplement the work started by the Applications/Coursework working group. We will also be considering in some depth how applications from our industrial funding partners (Esso, The Post Office, British Steel and Singapore Airlines) can best be used.


Our suggested new framework for GCSE, namely

has been well received by teachers. It provides

We are currently negotiating with NEAB and SCAA in order to provide a pilot GCSE although this was initially turned down by SCAA.

Other issues being considered by our working group on assessment include:


In addition to students who fail to reach even the lowest GCSE grade, we have the problem of candidates who reach only Grades F and G. These grades have little currency and whatever advice is given to such candidates Grades F and G are regarded as failures by the outside world (and hence by the students themselves). We strongly feel that we would like to offer some form of positive achievement for the mathematical skills which have been achieved rather than recording failures, and an outline proposal has been developed by our working group.

We are currently considering existing frameworks which could be used, including the Welsh Board's Certificate of Education: Mathematical Achievement.

6 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY : Integrated Learning Systems

The role of new technology in helping to deliver the mathematics curriculum will be carefully considered. Advice about how best to use, for example, graphics calculators and spreadsheets will be given in the teacher support material.

We are also keen to exploit the potential which a dedicated maths lab. of networked computers has, provided that suitable software can be developed. We have considered two such systems (currently being evaluated by NCET):

Both give an indication of what could be achieved but are far from the ideal. In summary, we would like to see the development of software, dedicated to enhancing mathematics, that

All this is possible but it would require considerable investment both in software development and, ideally, in helping some of our schools to purchase the dedicated network of machines needed to bring this dream to reality.

One further aspect that we are keen to exploit is the possible use of the internet to provide an economical and quick method of communication. We have, for example, established web pages for MEP. Most schools will be connected to the internet in the next few years and another exciting option that could be made available is for the central team at CIMT to provide highly topical and relevant applications based on the news items of the day. This facility would be of use to both teachers and pupils.


The substantial increase in the number of volunteer schools does pose a real problem for inservice support. We have said that any teacher involved in teaching Y10 or Y11 classes in the project must participate in at least one day of inservice before next September. Continuing support will also be necessary throughout the project.

The inservice courses for these teachers to introduce them to our philosophy and provide the necessary support and encouragement will be directed by David Burghes. The schools have been grouped into 11 regions:

North EastYorkshire, Humberside and LincolnshireWessex
North WestLondon and the Home CountiesDevon
MidlandsSouth WalesCornwall
East AngliaAvon

with about 5-6 schools in each region. Subject to funding we plan to appoint part-time regional inservice consultants who will be responsible for ongoing support during the project.

One of the main purposes of the first inservice courses is to promote the use of whole class teaching, particularly following the Hungarian approach. It is important that we are able to illustrate exactly what we mean and we are developing videos of good practice for use on these courses, in part funded by OFSTED. The videos, of course, would have a wider use in the years to come.

Our regional inservice set-up would also provide opportunities for mounting short courses for interested mathematics teachers outside the project, and indeed for other Gatsby funded mathematics projects.


Our main funding has been provided by

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation

and we are very grateful for their support and encouragement. We are also grateful for the support and encouragement given by our industrial backers,

Esso, The Post Office, British Steel and Singapore Airlines.
and (for help with the Teacher Support) to the Esmee Fairburn Charitable Trust.

The project has now expanded far beyond its original aims in that we now hope to be able to

If we are to remain a successful, competitive nation on the world stage we must ensure that future generations are given the required mathematical skills and knowledge. Raising mathematical expectations and helping pupils and teachers to achieve them is at the heart of this project.


MEP Recommendations

Mathematics Curriculum

Mathematics Teaching

Mathematics Assessment



List of MEP Volunteer Schools

Ansford School, Castle Cary, SomersetOakmead School, Bournemouth
Attleborough High School, Attleborough, Norfolk
Axe Valley School, Axminster, DevonOur Lady and St. John School, Blackburn
Oxstalls Community School, Gloucester
Balshaws's High School, PrestonParrenthorn High School, Prestwich, Manchester
Penair School, Truro, Cornwall
Bedford School, BedfordPenrice School, St Austell, Cornwall
Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, Lancs
Bemrose Community School, DerbyPlymstock School, Plymouth
Blandford School, Blandford, DorsetPoltair School, St Austell, Cornwall
Boston Grammar School, Boston, Lincs
Bournemouth School, BournemouthPrior Park College, Bath
Bradon Forest School, Purton, Wilts
Brierton School, Hartlepool
Brittons School, RainhamQueen Elizabeth's School, Wimbourne, Dorset
Radcliffe School, Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Broadoak School, Weston-Super-MareRainsford High School, Chelmsford
Ribblesdale High School, Clitherow, Lancs
Brymore School of Rural Technology, BridgwaterRichard Lander School, Truro, Cornwall
Buckler's Mead School, Yeovil, SomersetRidings High School, Winterbourne, Bristol
Caldicot School, Newport, GwentRisca Comprehensive School, Newport, Gwent
Roseland Community School, Truro, Cornwall
Central Foundation Boys' School, LondonRossholme School, Highbridge, Somerset
Cirencester Kingshill School, Cirencester, Glos.
Colmers Farm School, Birmingham
Sale Moor Technology College, Sale, Cheshire
Courtfields School, Wellington, SomersetSchool of Science and Technology, Lincoln
Selly Park Girls' School, Birmingham
De Lisle Comprehensive School, LoughboroughSheldon Heath School, Birmingham
Downham Market High School, Downham Market, Norfolk
Duffryn Comprehensive School, Newport, Gwent
Dyffryn School, Port TalbotSiddal Moor Sports College, Heywood, Lancs
Sidney Stringer CTC, Coventry
Exeter School, Exeter, DevonSt. Joseph's High School, Newport, Gwent
Fearns High School, Bacup, Rossendale
Fowey Community School, Fowey, Cornwall
Frome Community College, Frome, SomersetSt. James and the Abbey School, W. Malvern, Worcs
St. Joseph's School, Salisbury
Godolphin School, Salisbury, WiltsSt. Katherine's School, Bristol, Avon
Grange School, Bristol, AvonSt. Mary's College, Hull
Great Torrington School, Torrington, DevonSt. Mary's School, Calne, Wilts
Hall Mead School, Upminster, Essex
Hartridge High School, Newport, GwentSt. Pauls RC Comprehensive School, Leicester
Hassenbrook School, Stanford, EssexSt. Peter's RC Comprehensive School, Guildford
Haydock High School, St. HelensSt. Thomas More School, Blaydon, Tyne & Wear
Haydon Bridge High, Hexham, Northumberland
Hewett School, Norwich, Norfolk
Highdown School, ReadingStanchester School, Stoke-Sub-Hamdon, Somerset
Huxlow School, NorthamptonStanley High School School, Southport, Lancs
John Kelly Boy's School, LondonStopsley High School, Luton
John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge, Wilts
King Alfred School, Highbridge, SomersetStreetly School, Sutton Coldfield
Kingsbridge School, Kingsbridge, DevonSturminster Newton School, Stur. Newton, Dorset
Kingsfield School, Bristol, AvonTavistock College, Tavistock, Devon
Thorpe St. Andrew School, Norwich
Kingshurst CTC, BirminghamThurston Upper School, Bury St. Edmond
Kings of Wessex School, Cheddar, SomersetTownsend C of E School, St. Albans
Kingsway School, Stockport
Langbaurgh School, MiddlesbroughTremough Convent School, Penryn, Cornwall
Little Heath School, ReadingTrevethin School, Pontypool, Gwent
Littlemoss High School, ManchesterTrinity School, Northampton
Long Stratton High School, Long Stratton, Norfolk
Lostock Hall High School, Preston, Lancs
Lostock High School, ManchesterTruro High School, Truro, Cornwall
Mangotsfield School, Bristol, AvonUplands School, Poole, Dorset
Wayland Community High School, Thetford, Norfolk
Matthew Moss High School, Rochdale, LancsWisewood School, Sheffield
Mereway Upper School, NorthamptonWoodbridge School, Woodbridge, Suffolk
Monks Dyke School, Louth, LincsWycliffe College, Stonehouse, Glos.
Monks Park School, Bristol, AvonWyvern School, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Maynard School, Exeter
Methwold High School, Thetford, Norfolk



  • Revision sections
  • Theory clearly highlighted
  • Plenty of worked examples
  • Plenty of questions
  • Answers provided at back of book
  • Exam language used
  • Precise, consistent notation
  • Suitable contexts and practical applications
  • Interesting and motivating for students
  • Attractive design
  • Use of colour

Practice Books
  • Short tasks and starters for homework
  • Homework exercises for consolidation
  • Past exam questions

Teacher Support
  • Ideas/hints for introduction of topics
  • Historical facts and snippets of information
  • Answers to questions in Practice Books
  • Extension material
  • OHPs
  • Ideas for investigations, coursework
  • Hints for use of IT
  • Mental Tests, Written Tests (+answers)
  • Recording/monitoring material
  • National Curriculum Referencing