The LMS has a major commitment to mathematics education, and offers two grant schemes to teachers and other educators: the Small Grants for Education scheme and the Grants for Teacher CPD scheme. The Small Grants for Education are intended to fund activities that stimulate interest and enable involvement in mathematics from Key Stage 1 (age 5+) to undergraduate level and beyond, while the Grants for Teacher CPD are intended to facilitate mathematical development for teachers in the UK.
The grants are awarded by the LMS Education Committee, which considers four rounds of applications per year. The committee particularly encourages applications for activities that have a wide impact and that enhance and enrich mathematical study beyond the curriculum, and/or that stimulate interactions across the mathematical community. Some examples of recently funded activities are below.
1. Primary school mathematics club in Caerphilly
Funding was awarded to support a primary community school to create a mathematics after school club that taught mathematics to reception – year 6 students in an innovative way. The applicant was a senior lecturer at Cardiff University. Activities at the club were geared towards developing basic computational skills and an understanding of fractions; children took part in a ‘fraction race’, in which they were encouraged to find the biggest of a number of fractions, and played a ‘pizza fraction board game’ in teams. Many other maths board games were used to develop computational skills. At the time of application, the project was a partnership between two schools; however, following successful implementation, the applicant intends to expand the activity to other schools and local games clubs.
2. Mathematics camp in Kenya
The applicant, a UK postgraduate student, requested funding to work voluntarily at a mathematics camp in Kenya, which was set up by a Kenyan NGO with the aim of strengthening the mathematical community across Africa at all academic levels. The LMS grant contributed to the cost of flights to Nairobi. The camp took place over 2 weeks, the first of which was a planning week for the volunteers. The applicant assisted in lessons with such themes as ‘maps, graphs and gluings’ (exploring graph connectivity and surfaces) and ‘maths in nature’ (exploring waves, pendulums, predator-prey populations), among others.
The Grants for Teacher CPD scheme is divided into three elements: Element A, which supports teacher attendance at non-commercial conferences/events organised by professional mathematical organisations; Element B, which assists providers of professional development to run conferences/courses; and Element C, which covers the costs of external trainers in schools. Thus, the scheme may be used in a number of different ways, as illustrated by the examples below. Moreover, a new scheme enabling conference organisers to apply for a grant to contribute to the travel and subsistence expenses of attendees, ‘Multiple Grants for Teacher CPD’, has recently been set up.
1. Attendance at the 2018 MEI Conference (application under Element A)
The applicant was one of a large number who applied for funding to attend the 2018 Mathematics Education Innovation (MEI) Conference, a three-day event run by the MEI for 11–19 mathematics teachers. The grant contributed to the cost of travel and accommodation. The applicant found the conference to be extremely productive and gained a variety of resources to support their teaching, including practical applications of sorting problems and ways to introduce the concept of algorithms to students in an engaging manner. All resources were shared with the department on the applicant’s return.
2. Funding for a mathematics-based Inset day (application under Element C)
The LMS grant was used to fund a guest trainer, Ben Sparks, at a mathematics Inset day at a school in Hampshire, attended by 50 maths teachers with a range of experience from across seven different schools within the trust. The theme of the day was ‘Curiosity – Inspiring Minds’, which opened with a session on ‘Moving Mathematics’ and was followed by cross-school working groups around such themes as ‘Mastering Mastery’, ‘Problem Solving’ and ‘Teaching for Boys and Girls’. Prior to the session, two main needs had been identified from cross-school development plans: ‘use of ICT in the classroom’ and ‘stretch and development’. The applicant reported excellent feedback from the session.