Surviving the six week holiday… (…is easy, the weeks back are the hard part)

As the head of a secondary mathematics department there is no such thing as a six week holiday but at least the stress of the day to day teaching and running a department dissipated. The A-level results day is usually a day to look forward to as the majority of the students had something to celebrate. This year, with the new GCSE, the results day a week later was something of a more tense affair. From GCSE results day I find that the holiday is more or less over, with results to analyse and preparations for the new term in full swing. By the end of the first week of a new term it is as though I have never been away.

I find that having supportive staff around me is the only way to survive. People with whom I can share ideas, concerns and thoughts. This year there is more to think about for a head of department than most: key stage 3 curriculum adapted to meet the needs of the new intake, learning from the GCSE results in order to improve the plight of the new year 11, meeting the needs of the GCSE retake students, the new A-level…The thing you need most is a line manager who is supportive and understands the challenges mathematics departments face at the current time.

On 20th October 2017, the National STEM Learning Centre are holding a one day conference “Challenging and supporting your mathematics department”. At the conference, Dr Colin Foster will talk about what the research says makes good mathematics teaching, Jane Jones HMI, Maths Lead at OFSTED will present OFSTED’s view of how maths departments should be challenged and supported and Carol Knights, Director of Secondary Mathematics at NCETM will talk about the support on offer from the Math Hubs. In addition there will be a selection of workshops from the likes of Jonny Griffiths from RISPs fame, exam boards, local maths hubs, The Further Maths support programme and many more. The cost of the day is £80, but if you are a state funded school you will be eligible for a £100 ENTHUSE bursary.

This event is a must for any teacher who has any responsibility within a mathematics department. If you are a head of maths, why not bring your line manager along for the day?

For more info see


Age11-14, 14-16, 16-19
Report inappropriate content 


Sign in to post comments