With over 30 years in primary education as a teacher, deputy head, teacher trainer and advisor, Paul is currently supporting schools with their planning and teaching.
When starting out in my teaching I certainly wasn’t aiming to become a specialist in Primary Maths. I trained as Primary teacher specialising in PE and English. Eng Lit A level started a life long enjoyment of books and, well, who wouldn’t want to spend time in a tracksuit playing sport?
I was lucky to have some great Heads in my early years of teaching. The first, Paul Briten at St. Mary’s in Twickenham, provided excellent grounding and our paths crossed some years later as he was an author of a maths series for OUP.
At The Raleigh in West Horsley, the Head, Ian Nichols, changed the path of my teaching career. The school needed a maths coordinator and he suggested I studied for a Maths Diploma followed up by some courses led by Jan Stanfield Potworowski. He enthused about maths, and that brought out the same enthusiasm in me… I was hooked.
I eventually settled the family in Lincolnshire where I was a Maths Advisory teacher under the great tutelage of Mary Ruddle. I returned to the classroom as Deputy Head at Bassingham, where my third key Head, Paul Hickman, prepared me for a Headship. It was at this time that I became involved in writing and took a part-time advisory teacher post.
Training local teachers developed into running courses across the country, sometimes to support publishers but more often at the request of schools and local authorities. This was a time of many changes in Primary teaching with the introduction of the National Curriculum, followed by the Numeracy Framework.
I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with the Barking and Dagenham project and write some of the sample lessons for the Framework. At around this time I supported the British Council in Jordan to train teachers. I’ve since written books for a number of countries, putting together best practices in mathematics teaching and learning to various curricula.
I have recently achieved a distinction in my MA – late in my career compared to the young teachers on the Masters programme at Bishop Grosseteste University! I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to continue studying, perhaps in my dissertation area of ‘deep subject knowledge’. It certainly supported my role as a Senior Teaching Fellow at Warwick University. The best thing a teacher can do is keep reflecting, learning and developing. The greater your own understanding the more your children learn and the more pleasure it brings to teach.
I’ve been lucky with inspirational people at key moments in my career. Every teacher needs these key people to nurture their own development and interest in the teaching and learning of maths. I hope I can bring that same inspiration and support to others.