Stephen Lyon's public profile

UsernameStephen Lyon
OrganisationNational STEM Learning Centre
Current RoleOther

I have taught mathematics for over 30 years in a variety of secondary schools, to all abilities and age ranges up to and including A level further mathematics. I became a head of mathematics at a large comprehensive secondary school and successfully bid to become a mathematics and computing specialist school. After a brief spell as an assistant head I became an advanced skills teacher working with teachers in primary and secondary schools in York. I now work as mathematics lead for STEM Learning, supporting the learning and teaching of mathematics across the STEM Learning network. A great deal of my work is with science teachers exploring the delivery of mathematics within science. I hold the STEM Learning PD Lead accreditation and the NCETM Advanced Mathematics Professional Development Accredited. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and have achieved the CMathTeach accreditation. I am also Assistant Hub Lead (Level 3) for the Yorkshire Ridings Maths Hub.



Our support for STEM tutors during a pandemic

When I was head of a large mathematics department I was regularly asked by parents if I could recommend a tutor for their son or daughter. They would explain their concerns - perhaps their child lacked confidence in mathematics or was not progressing as well as they hoped. Maybe they just wanted additional support for their child - and a...


Using Geoboards to develop mathematical thinking

I’m always on the lookout for more unusual questions about run-of-the-mill mathematics topics.When finding the area of a rectangle for example, students very often automatically look for the numbers to put into the formula. I was therefore intrigued by the area maze problems created by Japanese mathematician Naoki Inaba, as featured in Alex Bellos...


What do you need to succeed as a non-specialist teacher of mathematics?

Teacher recruitment has been, and remains, a popular topic in education news. The number of applications to enter the teaching profession fell from 19,330 in 2016 to 12,820 in 2017- a drop of 33%.What does that mean for schools and, in particular, for mathematics departments? Will there be fewer qualified mathematics teachers in the classroom?...


What is the difference between Core Maths and pure maths?

I recently came across my old A level question paper. Back in those days all A level courses were linear; the first paper containing pure mathematics and the second containing the applied element.Skip forward to curriculum 2000 when all A level examinations became modular, each consisting of six modules. The mathematics course consisted of three...


How to support your mathematics department

The week in the Algarve seems as though it happened ages ago. Those odd jobs around the house have been completed and then finally, reality hits home as you head back into school to take on the next lot of students studying the maths GCSE.The new term is a time for reflection on the previous two years, identifying what worked and what needs to...


Time saving ideas for making great secondary mathematics resources

A lot has been written about this year’s mathematics GCSE examination results- what will the grade boundaries be? What is a good pass? How might post-16 take up be affected? No matter how your students fared this year no doubt new efforts are being made to best prepare your future cohorts for the demands of the new GCSE examinations.September...


Why manipulatives belong in the secondary maths classroom

During my time as an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) I spent time working with teachers in primary schools, supporting maths coordinators. Despite being there as a ‘maths specialist’ to support the teaching of maths, during my visits I learnt at least as much as the primary teachers with whom I worked. What I learned had a great impact in my own...


How to succeed as a non-specialist teacher of mathematics

It may seem a little strange to some people, but as a head of a large mathematics department, I actually looked forward to that time of the year when the timetable had to be constructed.It was like a giant Sudoku puzzle that would takes days, even weeks, to solve. It was a long, tricky process, but I loved it when eventually it all pulled...


What makes a good teaching assistant?

Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with a number of teaching assistants. Some were attached to the department and enjoyed the challenges of working alongside the mathematics team. Others were attached to students, getting to know the particular foibles of their charge as they worked alongside them in a variety of lessons.The most...


Is there a maths for science or is all maths the same?

 What is the difference between a histogram and a bar chart? Does a line of best-fit have to be straight or can it be curved? Do all axes have to start at zero? Is it OK to concertina axes on a graph? Is it ever OK to use a ‘calculation triangle’?Ask these questions to a teacher of mathematics and to a teacher of science and you are unlikely...