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Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching A Level Maths

Course Description

The Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching A-Level Mathematics is designed for practising secondary Mathematics teachers who wish to develop or enhance their teaching at post-16 level. The course was developed at Warwick University under the aegis of MEI. In addition to developing your subject knowledge, you will focus on the theoretical underpinning of learning advanced Mathematics and will explore the evidence base for the teaching of one mathematical topic in more depth.

If you are considering this programme, you may also be interested in the MSc Mathematics Education.


Mode of study: a series of full-day sessions, usually in pairs.

Duration: an academic year.

Location: Durham City campus.

How will I be taught?

The course is very 'hands-on'. Expert tutors come from both Durham University and the University of Warwick. You will work with peers on a range of problems and will reflect on both Mathematics and the appropriate pedagogy.

You will be assessed using a variety of methods, including a portfolio, written assignments, reports and presentations.

What will I learn?

The certificate is based on two modules: A-Level Mathematics Pedagogy and Classroom-based Enquiry in A-Level Mathematics.

A-Level Mathematics Pedagogy

The module introduces the theoretical and practical underpinnings of advanced Mathematics teaching and learning and introduces existing research findings in the area. It covers issues such as the role of questioning in the A-Level Mathematics classroom, visual representations of complex concepts, proof and reasoning and the role of ICT. The assessment involves the production of a portfolio (33%) outlining both the development of subject knowledge and practical teaching skills, as well as a written assignment focused on a key topic in the learning and teaching of A-Level Mathematics (67%).

Classroom-Based Enquiry in A-Level Mathematics

The module develops the skills associated with small-scale, classroom-based research methods to enable teachers to explore an aspect of teaching and learning around one mathematical topic in their own classroom. Building on an understanding of research methods gained from existing literature, the module will examine alternative pedagogies in A-Level Mathematics, assessment, the role of optional modules (such as statistics, decision and mechanics) in developing mathematical understanding, as well as methodological ideas such as action research. The module is assessed by a presentation on a chosen classroom-based enquiry topic (33%) and a written report of the methods and findings of the enquiry project (67%).

Who will teach me?

Bernard Murphy is the MEI Programme Leader for CPD. After 11 years in the classroom, in England and, through VSO, in Tanzania, he joined MEI in 2003 to set up the TAM programme at the University of Warwick. Most of his work now involves CPD related to the Mathematics A-Level. In addition, he was recently involved in a European Project 'Awareness of Big Ideas in the Mathematics Classroom', carries out reviews of whole Mathematics departments, regularly presents master classes to primary and secondary school pupils, has been an A-Level principal examiner and is an author of textbooks.

Mike Ollerton is mainly responsible for supporting teachers through the two Master's modules. Mike has worked on Master's programmes since 1998 in Cumbria (formerly St. Martin's, Lancaster), Warwick )from 2011) and more recently in Durham (2012).He has 20+ years of secondary school Mathematics teaching and is passionate about seeking ways to make the learning of Mathematics accessible and understandable. Since 2006, Mike has been a freelance consultant, working with may schools and running courses focusing on problem solving and investigative approaches. He is a long term member of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

James Frost is a member of the Durham University team that works alongside MEI in offering the TAM programme. His primary role resides within the practical teaching element of the course and thus, he is responsible for ensuring that the ideals and philosophy of the programme are evident within the classrooms of TAM students. James has 20 years' experience as a teacher and educator, working on BA, B.Ed and PGCE programmes both in the UK and overseas (St. Lucia). Currently studying for a doctoral qualification, James is particularly interested in the use of ICT in Mathematics classrooms, especially the role of multiple representational environments in developing mathematical understanding.

Visit the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching A Level Maths page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should normally have an Honours degree at 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject area, although significant, relevant experience will also be considered; if English is not your first language) you must have an overall IELTS score of at least 7.0 with no element under 6.5, or a TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) score of at least 102, with no element under 25. If you have already completed a degree progamme where English was the language of instruction, it may be possible to use this as evidence of your English language proficiency in lieu of a language test.

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