Podcast

Jane Jones: Ofsted, observations, marking, reasoning

On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Jane Jones.

Jane is a former teacher and head of maths who is now the HMI National Lead for Mathematics.

As regular listeners to this podcast will know, over the last two years I have significantly changed my approach to teaching. And frequently, when I present these new ideas to teachers, I hear things like “that’s all well and good, but Ofsted wouldn’t like it”. Well, here was my perfect opportunity to find out if that really is the case.

So, in an epic 3 hour interview, we covered the following things, and much, much more besides:

  • Before we get into talking observations, I turn the tables on Jane and ask her to think about a lesson she taught that didn’t go to plan, and what did she learn from the experience?
  • In Ofsted’s eyes, what makes a successful maths lesson?
  • We then go off on a tangent and talk about the difficulties of teaching reasoning and problem solving
  • What does good differentiation look like?
  • Jane describes the best practices she has seen for teaching GCSE re-sits – something I have never felt I have done well at
  • Is engagement important, can you observe it, and if so, how?
  • When an inspector speaks to students about the Maths, what kind of things do they ask, and what are they hoping students will say?
  • We then clear up some clear up some Ofsted myths, and I try to sign Jane up to my Ban Maths Displays campaign
  • Then we turn our attention to marking, feedback and workload, as I attempt to tease out of Jane what good marking and feedback looks like
  • I ask Jane are maths lessons perceived differently if they are observed by a specialist v a non-specialist?
  • What advice does Jane have for heads of maths and for line managers?
  • What does a good maths scheme of work look like?
  • What does effective transition look like?
  • Finally, Jane offers up 3 pieces of advice for all teachers, before reflecting on what she wish she knew when she first started teaching that she knows now.

I flipping loved this conversation. Jane was a superb guest. She is down to earth, and really understands the pressures of both teaching maths and being a head of department, because she has been there. So, whether you are preparing for an inspection, just had one, or are genuinely interested in Ofsted’s views on teaching and learning in mathematics, then this is the episode for you. I personally felt refreshed and reassured.

Just before we crack on – you know what is coming here – I just wanted to mention my book “How I wish I’d taught maths”, which is being published by John Catt Educational. I have been incredibly fortunate to receive positive reviews from the likes of Dylan Wiliam, Doug Lemov, Jo Morgan, Dani Quinn, Will Emeny, Bruno Reddy and Peps McCrea, as well as a foreword by Kris Boulton. The book comes in at a whopping 150,000 words – 135,000 of which are Kris’ foreword… only messing. It is everything I have learned in the last two years, I am really proud of it, and I hope those of you who choose to snap it up will really enjoy it.

On Twitter, Jane is @JaneJonesHMI
Ofsted’s website is: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted

Jane Jones’ Big 3
1. NCETM
2. Made to Measure / Understanding the Score
3. Subject Associations: MA, ATMNAMA, AMET and NANAMIC 

Two really useful summaries of the interview:
@mathsmrgordon takeaways from the whole interview: teachinnovatereflectblog.wordpress.com
@mistersetchell about differentiation: https://sites.google.com/view/mistersetchell/home

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:
mrbartonnmaths.com
Mr Barton Maths Blog
Twitter: @mrbartonmaths
Diagnostic Questions
Book: How I wish I’d taught maths
Mr Barton Maths Podcast

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