Stefanie Sullivan – Maths PGCE Tutor from Nottingham University

On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast I spoke to Stefanie Sullivan

Stef is in charge of the whole PGCE Teacher Training programme at Nottingham University, but is still heavily involved in the Secondary Maths PGCE. In the interests of full disclosure, Stef was my maths tutor 12 years ago when I did my maths PGCE at Nottingham, after I had completed an Economics degree at Cambridge University, a brief flirtation with working in the City, and a year picking courgettes in Australia. I am not afraid to say that I loved every second – well most of them – during my PGCE at Nottingham, and it gave me a wonderful start to my teaching career for which I will always be grateful.

In a wide ranging interview, we covered the following things:

  • How does Stef advise her trainees to think about the planning process?
  • Stef describes an excellent lesson she saw on forming linear equations, and then a lesson on bearings that looked very good on paper, but which went off the rails for a very important reason
  • We discuss whether good teachers are born or made, and what are some of the traits and habits of the most successful teachers Stef has worked with
  • We look at the merits of the PGCE route versus Schools Direct, what Nottingham has to offer, and what Stef would like to see included in the PGCE if it was up to her… which it is, so that is good news!
  • We talk about the best practises Stef sees in schools for supporting their trainee teachers
  • We look at the most common reasons for the huge numbers of teachers leaving the profession in the first few years and what can be done about this
  • Finally we talk about the importance of that very first lesson, and establishing positive relationships between teacher and student as quickly as possible


I hope this interview will be of interest to teachers in general, whether you are a trainee teacher yourself, someone thinking of joining the profession, an NQT, someone who mentors trainee teachers, or just someone, like me, who is interested in the preparation and support the next cohort of teachers gets.

This is a link to finding out more about Nottingham University’s secondary maths courses: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education/study/teacher-training/secondary/subjects/maths/index.aspx

This is a link to the blog Stef has been been writing this year to support trainees: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/educationmatters/category/bat-blog/


Stef’s Big 3

Colin Foster’s Mathematical Beginnings Website: www.foster77.co.uk/mathematicalbeginnings/

NRICH: http://nrich.maths.org/frontpage

Nottingham’s CRME resources: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/crme/resources-teachers.aspx


Podcast Puzzle


This is a link to the Podcast Puzzle:  https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education/documents/teacher-training/maths-tasks.pdf

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

I am a maths teacher, currently teaching at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, UK. Here are links to some of my work:
Mr Barton Maths Blog
Twitter: @mrbartonmaths
Diagnostic Questions
Mr Barton Maths Podcast
Just the Job Podcast

2 thoughts on “Stefanie Sullivan – Maths PGCE Tutor from Nottingham University

  1. Great postcast. Better than anything on cabbages ;)
    Just to let you know that the link to Colin Foster’s Mathematical Beginnings Website is a bit garbled.

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