Primary school governing boards are encouraged to appoint a Numeracy Governor to take an interest in numeracy the school and to offer a source of support and challenge. The precise responsibilities of the Numeracy Governor need to be agreed by the governing board and so will vary from school to school. This advice provides a framework to base the role on.
Why do we need a Numeracy Governor?
The governing board is responsible for the strategic direction of the school, including the delivery of the National Curriculum, raising standards and setting target. Raising standards of mathematics, especially numeracy is a key part of this responsibility. A nominated governor who takes a special interest in Numeracy can help to ensure that numeracy issues remain high on the school’s agenda. He or she can provide an important link between the governing board, its committees and school staff.
What skills and qualities are needed?
- Good communication skills
- A willingness to provide a brief written report or report back verbally at meetings
- Enthusiasm and energy
- An appreciation of the role of the governing board
- A willingness to share ideas and good practice
What does the role involve?
Developing and maintaining an understanding of how numeracy is progressing within the school. To provide support and challenge by:
- Understanding current school policy and practice for teaching and learning of mathematics.
- Keeping informed about national developments
- Attending school INSET days on numeracy
- Planning visits to observe the daily mathematics lesson and discuss them with staff
- Meeting with the Mathematics Co-ordinator to discuss progress and issues
- Discussing the outcomes of the school’s monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning with the headteacher and the Mathematics Co-ordinator
- Discussing the outcome of school visits with the Mathematics Co-ordinator and the headteacher
- Monitoring the school’s progress in achieving the agreed mathematics targets
- Taking an active role in supporting the Mathematics Co-ordinator with events such as maths weeks, competitions, and celebrations of pupils’ achievements.
Setting the strategic framework – being a champion for Numeracy within the governing board by:
- Working with the headteacher and the Mathematics Co-ordinator to evaluate the implementation of the whole school policy for mathematics and the implications for staff development
- Taking an informed view of mathematics target setting and supporting the school in setting challenging but achievable targets
- Agreeing with the governing board and the headteacher the indicators which should be reported on by the school to the governing board and the timescale for that reporting
- Ensuring that the school’s numeracy action plan is linked to the School Development Plan and the budget setting process by working with the appropriate committees
- Discuss the budget allocated to mathematics with the finance committee; ensure that funds are allocated each year within the school budget specifically to support the Strategy.
Sharing information ensuring the school is accountable by: -
- Supporting and promoting the involvement of parents in the Strategy and work with staff to ensure that parents are kept well informed
- Support and promote the involvement of parents in numeracy strategy and work with staff to ensure that parents are kept well informed
- Providing support and encouragement for staff with their numeracy responsibilities
- Exchanging good practice with other Numeracy Governors
Making the most of school visits
Always remember that you are not acting as a teacher or an inspector, but as a source of support and a critical friend to the school. If you are visiting a lesson, don’t forget the possible apprehension some teachers may feel if someone observes their lesson. You could offer to take part in the lesson, perhaps by working with a group or joining in a discussion. Always discuss with the teacher first and follow his or her lead. Some of the key questions for the Numeracy Governor to explore during school visits and discussions with staff will include:
Teaching and Learning
- What are the school’s strengths and areas for development in teaching and learning mathematics? Does the daily mathematics lesson work better in some classes than others? Why?
- Are lessons stimulating, interesting and accessible to all the children?
- How positive are the attitudes, behaviour and motivation of the children?
- How good are standards, in relation to national data, previous results and other subjects?
- What pressures are teachers experiencing?
- How are learning support assistants used to support numeracy?
- Is the Mathematics Co-ordinator allocated non-contact time for monitoring numeracy?
- What staff training is planned?
Availability and use of resources
- Do all classes have sufficient resources with respect to targeted achievement in numeracy?
- What use is made of any family numeracy initiatives?
- How is ICT used to support numeracy? Needs of different pupils
- How do boys progress in numeracy compared to girls?
- What steps are taken to raise achievement?
- What is the impact of any Pupil Premium spending on standards of literacy?
- What steps are being taken to enusre the diminishing of difference in attainment?
- How do pupils with English as an additional language progress in numeracy?
- How is the school addressing the needs of SEN pupils during the daily mathematics lesson? Are the numeracy needs of SEN pupils included in their Individual Education Plans?
- How does the school support oral and mental mathematics?
- How does the school utilise all its resources (books, materials, displays and ICT) to promote numeracy?
- Do parents attend mathematics events or celebrations?
- How does the school encourage parents to help their children’s mental maths at home?
- What is the homework policy?
- How does the school communicate with parents about their child’s mathematics targets and progress?
- Does the school support family numeracy programmes?
Support for the Numeracy Governor
It is important that the governing board both understands the role of the Numeracy Governor and supports the Numeracy Governor in carrying out that role. The governing board will need to:
- Take an informed interest in numeracy issues
- Establish a strategic plan which sets challenging but realistic targets for improving standards in numeracy
- Ensure that the numeracy action plan is taken into account in the School Improvement Plan and in the budget setting process
- Determine the arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the policy
- Consider the impact of any numeracy initiatives on the whole curriculum
- Ensure that school policies take account of the Numeracy Strategy Provide an opportunity for an outgoing Numeracy Governor to pass on information and relevant paperwork
Advice and support:
The Governor Helpline (01296 383180) or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Governor Development Programme
Department of Education