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Unit information: Mathematics in Schools in 2021/22

Unit name Mathematics in Schools
Unit code MATH30020
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jayne Stansfield
Open unit status Not open

80 level 5 credit points plus interview and selection process



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Unit Aims

The aims are to enhance your management and communication skills and your ability to analyse and learn from situations in which you are a provider rather than a receiver of expertise and in which you have to exercise some degree of responsibility.

Unit Description

You will be matched with appropriate schools and a specific teacher in the local area. Initially, the teacher will assign you with your actual teaching tasks, which will be dependent on the specific needs of the school. This could include offering problem-solving coaching to a smaller group of students, or taking the last ten minutes of the lesson for the whole class. Initial contact with the teacher and pupils will be as a classroom assistant, watching how the teacher handles the class, observing levels of mathematics taught and the structure of the lesson, and offering practical support to the teacher in lesson preparation and administrative work.

Taking a greater level of responsibility, you will later devise a special project on the basis of your own assessment of what will interest of be of most use to the particular pupils you are working with, be it as part of a maths club or part of the day-to-day teaching of mathematics. You will have to show that you can analyse a specific teaching problem, devise and prepare appropriately targeted teaching materials and then assess the success of your project and the response of the pupils.

You will maintain a logbook documenting your experiences and progress. Your final written report will critically evaluate your progress and experiences , determining whether or not you have achieved the targets you set for yourself at the beginning of the unit. You will also include a description of your Special Project, including content, methods, reasoning, planning, delivery and reception, as well as discuss challenges facing educators today. You will also be required to give a presentation of 15 minutes on some aspect of your time in school.

Places on this unit are restricted and you should complete an application form (due in on the last day of the summer term) and participate in an interview. You will be informed of whether you have been selected to take the unit shortly after the interviews in October.

Relation to Other Units

Note that students taking International Mentoring are not permitted to take this unit

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit, the students will have gained a broad understanding of many of the key practical aspects of teaching mathematics in schools. The specific objectives are

  • To gain the ability to plan and carry out teaching activities with school pupils
  • To acquire organizational and leadership skills
  • To acquire interpersonal and communication skills
  • To explore an issue facing educators by entering into discussions with the teachers or students directly affected by it
  • To document and reflect on personal progress in the above areas

They will have gained experience of answering questions about their subject and will be able to assess and devise appropriate ways to communicate a difficult principle or concept. The student will develop their communication skills, both in a one to one situation and when speaking to an audience. The student will be able to use these skills to address some of the problems specific to mathematics education such as the need to breakdown stereotypes of maths and mathematicians that pupils may have.

Teaching Information

There are no formal lectures associated with this course but mandatory 50 minute meetings will take place every week or two throughout the year with the course lecturer and other students on the course. The first four or five tutorials will provide the students with an introduction to working in schools and the mathematics curriculum. They will receive basic training in working with children and conduct in the school environment. During the period when the undergraduates are spending time in schools, the purpose of the tutorials will be to compare experiences and discuss any problems that might arise. Typically, students will spend one half-day a week in the school for 15 weeks during the second half of Teaching Block 1 and throughout Teaching Block 2.

Assessment Information

The final assessment mark for the unit is calculated from the components as follows:

  • 15% weekly logbook
  • 45% 5000 word written report
  • 10% teacher assessment
  • 30% presentation

The student will be assessed on their effort and improvement in the following areas:

  • Skills in communicating mathematics
  • Working with others
  • Organisation, reliability and self-management
  • Initiative and creativity
  • Identifying and understanding the educational needs of students learning mathematics
  • Self-analysis and critical evaluation


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MATH30020).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.