Rebecca The Maths Lady – Story

Previously a Head of Secondary Maths, I then went on to lecture in mathematics education.

In 2013 a new primary mathematics curriculum for England was published. Because of the political climate, this curriculum had not been consulted with the teaching community in a meaningful way and it had not been trialled. 

This new curriculum put Roman numerals at the heart of each year of teaching. It insisted on tests for children aged six in column addition and subtraction where they couldn’t use apparatus. It put a particular way of doing long division at the heart of teaching for children aged ten. All this happened at the direction of one minister with no relevant experience. Our curriculum teaches primary maths much younger than any other curriculum in the world. This happened because of the key minister’s belief that age was irrelevant.

Another step this minister took was to force this was to require seven-year-olds to get 100% in a multiplication tables test with only six seconds being allowed for each question.

I had two key concerns about this. The first was that much expert practice would be lost, as teachers came to rely on schemes that claimed to deliver the required outcomes. The second was that these schemes of work were particularly undeliverable in most schools in Cumbria, which have a wide variety of structures of mixed year group teaching.

Between 2013 and 2019 I work with teachers to capture and share best practice through my professional development business, Authentic Maths. During this time I became know by schools as ‘Rebecca The Maths Lady’.

I started to share this training free on my YouTube channel in late 2019 and was able to commit substantial time and energy to completing this work during lockdown.

In May 2020 I presented the ‘future of primary maths’ workshop live to over 1000 participants at The Inquiry Educators Summit. A recording of my workshop is available via this link. Sharing my work allowed me to work closely with top experts on primary maths education around the glob.

I then co-created free-to-download maths teaching worksheets with Jeff Kutcher. A list of the free worksheets which are currently available and information on where to find them is available here.

After lockdown, I worked in a primary school facing many challenges to deliver maths recovery for children whose maths had been seriously affected by lockdown.

Since April 2022, I’ve been tutoring online from home because of caring responsibilities. I absolutely love working with the children who face most challenges with their maths. If this interests you, please follow this link to find out more.

Rebecca was a secondary Head of Maths (working in schools with many challenges) before going on to lecture in Mathematics Education for Manchester Metropolitan University and the Open University. She became an NCETM accredited provider of primary maths CPD in 2013 and was awarded fellowship of the Chartered College of Teaching in 2019. Rebecca has led successful national and international projects in mathematics education.