Ofsted reports in mathematics and materials for schools

  • Mathematics: made to measure - 22 May 2012. This report is based predominantly on evidence from inspections of mathematics between January 2008 and July 2011 in maintained schools in England. Inspectors visited 160 primary and 160 secondary schools and observed more than 470 primary and 1,200 secondary mathematics lessons. The report is also informed by good practice visits to 11 primary schools, one secondary school and two sixth-form colleges, but the evidence from these visits is not included in the proportions quoted in the report. The report draws attention to serious inequalities in pupils’ experiences and achievements. It includes examples of best practice that help avoid or overcome the inequalities and weaker practice that exacerbates them.
  • Good practice in primary mathematics: evidence from 20 successful schools - 13 November 2011. This report examines the work of a sample of 10 maintained and 10 independent schools, all of which have strong track records of high achievement in mathematics. It identifies the characteristics of effective practice in building pupils’ secure knowledge, skills and understanding of number so that they demonstrate fluency in calculating, solving problems and reasoning about number. The report also looks at the choices of methods pupils make when presented with calculations and problems to solve. Some key common factors emerge, which might be more widely replicated, as well as some differences between the schools.
  • Tackling the challenge of low numeracy skills in young people and adults - 8 April 2011. This report evaluates the quality of numeracy provision for young people and adults seen in visits between May and November 2010 to 59 providers including colleges, independent learning providers, local authority providers of adult and community learning, prisons and probation trusts. Key features of effective practice and the most commonly identified reasons for underperformance are explored in detail. The report also presents the main challenges faced by providers in securing further improvement. 
  • Finnish pupils' success in mathematics - 10 September 2010. This report focuses on the contributing factors of Finnish pupils’ success in mathematics and considers the implications for policy and practice in England.
  • Mathematics: understanding the score - Improving practice in mathematics (secondary) - 4 March 2009. 
  • Mathematics: understanding the score - Improving practice in mathematics (primary) - 4 March 2009. The two (Mathematics: understanding the score) booklets aim to help teachers improve pupils’ understanding of mathematics and give them confidence in using the subject in everyday life. They illustrate how teachers can make teaching more engaging and develop pupils’ skills whatever their ability, using practical examples.
  • Mathematics: understanding the score - 19 September 2008. This report is based on evidence from mathematics inspections between April 2005 and December 2007 in 192 maintained schools in England. Part A focuses on the inspection findings in the context of rising standards over the last decade in national tests and examinations. Part B discusses the issues underlying the rises in results and describes the essential components of effective mathematics teaching. There are illustrative examples and brief commentaries. These findings contributed to the review of mathematics led by Sir Peter Williams and published in June 2008.

Inspectors visit 150 schools each year to inform Ofsted’s subject surveys in English, mathematics and science. Survey visits for other subjects are less frequent but continue to take place from time to time. Our latest mathematics feedback letters can be found on the mathematics subject survey visits page.

Case studies of good practice in mathematics in schools

Improving girls’ attainment in mathematics: Westdene Primary School - 11 September 2012. This example shows how Westdene Primary School uses effective assessment, focused single-sex teaching and enterprise projects to engage underperforming girls in mathematics. The approach results in improved attitudes, raised attainment and a well-developed understanding of mathematics in the real world.

Engaging able mathematics students: King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys - 9 February 2012. A school that is highly successful in engaging and developing young, more able (gifted and talented) mathematicians, both in mathematics lessons and in extra-curricular activities.

National Lead

As National Lead for Mathematics since 2006, Jane Jones HMI has led Ofsted’s curriculum and dissemination work in mathematics. She advises on all matters mathematical, manages Ofsted’s annual programme of mathematics inspections in primary and secondary schools, and reports on and disseminates the findings.

Prior to her appointment to HMI in 2002, she taught and led mathematics in a diverse range of schools and has some experience of working in higher education. She was a principal examiner for GCSE mathematics and acted as a consultant and scrutineer for QCA, which included leading the 2001 review of ‘standards over time’ for GCSE mathematics.

External links

Our published reports in mathematics include some organisations’ websites in the annex. 

Annual Report 2012/13