• Saturday 16th March 2024

  • 8.30am — 4.30pm

  • Yate Academy, Bristol

"In the 59 years I've been on the planet, MathsConf has been the best day of maths ed I've ever experienced. Thank you so much, one and all! Still on a high... "


What to expect

We're back with our 34th Complete Mathematics Conference, aka #MathsConf34

Bringing together hundreds of maths teachers from all phases of education to collaborate and learn from each other.

The perfect way to spend a Saturday with easily digestible mathematics wisdom from educators around the country.



  • 08.30
    Grab your badge and first coffee of the day
  • 09.30

    Welcome and introduction, from Complete Mathematics and Main Sponsor, AQA

  • 10.10
    Period 1
  • 11.00
    Morning break
    Chance to grab some exhibition goodies
  • 11.20
    Period 2
  • 12:10
    Morning Break
    Hunt down our treasure hunt clues
  • 12:30
    Period 3
  • 13:20

    Check out and taste test maths inspired cakes or why not join the Tweetup?

  • 14:10
    Period 4
  • 15:00
    Afternoon Break
    Have a stretch and grab a final cup of tea
  • 15:20
    Period 5
  • 16:10
    Join the final remarks, including charity raffle draw — will you be a lucky winner?


From Fermat’s Last Theorem to stretching the most ambitious students

Simon Singh @SLSingh

Simon will explain how writing about the most notorious problem in mathematics led him to starting a range of projects designed to increase the number and diversity of excellent mathematicians.

Simon Singh joined the BBC science department after completing a PhD in particle physics at Cambridge University. He worked as a director/producer on Tomorrow's World and Horizon, winning a BAFTA for his documentary about Fermat's Last Theorem. He went on to write a book on the same subject, followed by four more popular science/maths books. He is currently developing ways to increase the number and diversity of excellent mathematicians using his website www.parallel.org.uk. In 2003, Simon received an MBE for services to mathematics education and science communication.

Maths, Shakespeare and the Humanities

Rob Eastaway @robeastaway

Maths is often linked to the other STEM subjects, but what about connecting maths with the humanities? In this workshop Rob Eastaway explores the world of Shakespeare to reveal some of the fascinating ways in which maths, literature and history are intertwined, with examples of how these three school subjects can be used to enrich each other. This workshop is a preview to Rob’s book Much Ado About Numbers which will be published in April.

I still don’t get it! – Forty years in maths education

Andrew Taylor @AQAMaths

In his last ever mathsconf session as AQA’s head of maths, Andrew reflects on the changes to the teaching, learning and assessment of the subject he loves since he started teaching in 1984. He’ll look at how views on what is valued have changed and affected assessment, and how changes in assessment and accountability have affected teaching. If you want to know what life was like before GCSE, the National Curriculum and Performance Tables, then this is the session for you. If you too have lived and worked through times of mental arithmetic exams and compulsory coursework, then come and wallow in nostalgia.

Ten Strategies for Good GCSE Results

Jo Morgan @mathsjem

In this workshop I will share some of the approaches and strategies that my school uses to maximise students' performance at GCSE. We will look at what my school does in maths from Year 7 to 11 to secure good outcomes for all, helping to give students the best opportunities in life.

Plotting a Way Through

Sam Blatherwick @blatherwick_sam

This workshop intends to look at themes relating to linear graphs and quadratic graphs through the KS3 and KS4 curriculum, with an eye upon how skills are developed at KS5. It will explore alternative approaches to "traditional" ways of teaching these areas of maths, including some ideas that some delegates may not find to their taste! It also aims to show how problem solving within a structural framework can be used to develop procedural skills. This workshop should come with plenty of resources and ideas for you to take away and try with your classes!

All in Good Time - Tips for teaching time in primary maths

Jo Austen @mathswithin10

Why is time such a tricky topic and what can we do about it? In this workshop, Jo will answer these questions, sharing a range of strategies to help you and your pupils.

Leading Maths

Peter Mattock @MrMattock, Jo Morgan @mathsjem, Lisa Coe @Elsie2110, David Faram @DagsMaths, and Julia Smith @tessmaths

Five leaders of maths from across the education sector come together to debate the leadership of maths in schools and answer questions about the challenges and rewards of leading maths.

What Makes a Good Maths Resource? Practical Considerations when Creating or Adapting Resources for the Secondary Classroom

Amanda Austin @draustinmaths

As Maths teachers we are fortunate to have access to an abundance of high quality tasks and resources. But whether we’re selecting an existing resource, adapting a resource from a centralised curriculum, or creating something from scratch, there is a lot that we need to consider in order to maximise the impact of a resource in our classrooms. This workshop will look in detail at some of those considerations, using examples from recent lessons to highlight the difference a well thought-out or carefully chosen Maths resource can make.

The Great Grading Scandal

Dennis Sherwood @noookophile

On average across all subjects, about 1 in every 4 GCSE, AS and A level grades is wrong, and has been wrong for years. But since 2016, these wrong grades cannot be discovered, and corrected, by an appeal. That's because, in 2016, Ofqual deliberately changed the appeals process to prevent their discovery, so covering this all up.

If this is 'news' to you, or if you just don't believe it, that shows just how successful that cover-up has been.

Which is what this workshop is all about. I'll present the evidence that 1 grade in 4 is wrong, and how the appeals process has been 'fixed' ; I'll also present the reason why this happens, and - most importantly - how this problem can easily be solved, so that students can be awarded what they truly deserve: grades that are fully reliable and trustworthy.

Transition and the big Year 7 problem

Ed Southall @edsouthall

A discussion around the recent findings from Axiom and Nottingham University that an estimated 30,000 pupils who achieved top maths results in their key stage 2 SATs do not get a grade 7 or above in the subject at GCSE, with many of those pupils demonstrating a "significant decline in interest and attainment particularly during the transition to secondary school”. We will look at how to better support transition from primary to secondary in terms of the experiences and curriculum for pupils across Year 5 to 8.

Exploring Matrix Transformations

Rob Southern @mrsouthernmaths

I love teaching matrices – it is a “brand new” topic that the students can really get into. In this session, we will focus on matrix transformations. We will look at some activities aimed at helping students to understand how matrix transformations work and the effect that they have. We will think about invariance and consider what it means for a matrix to be “self-inverse”. I will also share some ideas on linking matrices with other areas of the curriculum.

Ferrari, Tartaglia and Cardano: from cubic equations to complex numbers

Paddy MacMahon @paddymac_maths

Why do we have complex numbers? How did 16th century work on solving cubic equations lead to the invention of imaginary numbers? In this workshop we will learn Tartaglia's method for solving cubic equations and discover how this led naturally to the development of complex numbers. An ideal extension topic for keen GCSE mathematicians and a historically accurate way of introducing imaginary numbers.

Journaling in Mathematics - The lesson design gift that keeps on giving!

Chris Pinney @chris_to_five

Journaling is still niche in the UK mathematics class, but this small tweak to lesson design has an almost endless list of benefits and, in affording everyone the opportunity to be real mathematicians every day, is an easy-to-implement giant leap towards authentic equity in the classroom.

Enrichment at KS4

Mel Muldowney @Just_Maths

Enrichment is all well and good but should it always lead to a qualification for the student? A look at some of the options for qualifications and also some ideas that don’t lead to a formal qualification.

Assessing for Learning at the start of GCSE

David McEwan @AQAMaths

We’ve got a new AQA assessment we’d like to share with you! It’s designed to identify gaps and misconception in students' learning as they start a GCSE – either at the beginning of KS4 or at the start of a resit in Year 12. You'll get to see the underlying maths, find out how it works, and learn about the reports you can use to understand what your students know and where their understanding breaks down. You'll also find the learning resources work that go with it. And there will be plenty of time for your questions, too.

Averages: Thoughts on Language and Sequencing

Josh Wright

Do you find the same misconceptions again and again from your students when teaching averages? Do they use informal, passed down definitions like 'add them up and divide by how many there are'? Do they always forget to order the data before finding the 'middle number'? I want to discuss how we can fine-tune the teaching of averages, and how a bit of stubbornness could produce more success both with lower and higher ability students.

"Hardest" questions for Year 11 pupils preparing for A Level Maths

Matt Man @mr_man_maths

In this workshop, we will be looking at past GCSE papers (using Pearson Edexcel) and find which questions in particular that pupils have struggled the most. We will focus on topics that "crossover" between GCSE and A Level Maths. We will also discuss and gather ideas on what can we do to better prepare our students for A Level Maths.

Edu book club- Making CPD resources work in the Maths classroom

Dave Tushingham @davetushingham and Rhiannon Rainbow @noni_rainbow

In our Edu-book Club, we talk with expert authors and take away ideas from their books and from the discussions that we have. In this session we share what we have learned from those sessions, what we have tried in our classrooms, what has worked, why it has worked, and what we are currently working on. Relevant for all phases, this workshop is full of evidence-informed ideas from a range of leading experts that you can try in the classroom tomorrow. Designed with the audience in mind, the format offers a platform where we can all learn from the experts and also from each other. A place where we can reflect on the session material, share our unique experiences and learn from others in the room!

The curse of knowledge, and what I'm remembering to do about it

Adam Mercer @AMercerMaths

Why can’t my students solve algebraic fractions as easily as I’d hoped they would? How can I better get my Y9’s to understand Trigonometry? Why did a former Y11 try to draw a probability tree for a question with only one event? What do I accidentally take for granted in the classroom? This workshop is the result of what I’ve been practicing in my classroom to overcome when I’ve took my own expertise in maths for granted. And what I’ve done to help my more “novice” students to understand and progress. I’ll talk about how I’ve been wrong about how I’ve taught topics in the past, and what I’m much better at doing now to help my students succeed.

Using (big) mini whiteboards in the A level classroom.

Rob Southern @mrsouthernmaths

Mini-whiteboards are most commonly used as a check for understanding, often in a “my turn, your turn” scenario. They provide immediate feedback on what the students can do. However, they have so much more potential than this, particularly in the A level classroom. In this session, I will model part of a possible first A level lesson using A3 whiteboards and suggest strategies for using them to help students become confident and independent.

Tangents, maxima and minima WITHOUT calculus

Paddy MacMahon @paddymac_maths

An exploration of some alternative methods for finding equations of tangents to curves and extreme values of functions without resorting to differentiation; ideas that are useful for developing deep understanding of coordinate geometry and putting calculus on firm foundations.

Reflections on Building a Shared Curriculum

Josh Burr @JoshuaBurr and Dave Tushingham @davetushingham

The aim of this workshop is to provide an honest and pragmatic reflection on our experience when building a shared curriculum. We will discuss what a shared curriculum might look like, our process for creating a shared curriculum and what we have learned along the way. This session is designed to support those reflecting on their own curriculum journeys and those who wish to build greater collaboration and resource sharing into the departments in which they work.


Maths Cake Competition

Our cake competition is always a highlight of the day. Dozens of delegates battle it out to be crowned the winner of the maths-themed cake bake-off.

Be sure to check out your colleagues' handywork on Twitter at #MC33Cake. And, of course, remember to tweet a picture of your own cake before you finish it all! We know how delicious they are!

Treasure Hunt

Throughout the day you will have a collection of mathematical questions that you need to find and solve, with each question labelled with a greek letter. Solve the questions, and using our cipher, convert the greek letters to give you a mathematical word. If you get the correct word, you will be entered into a prize draw and be in with a the chance of winning an Amazon Fire Tablet.

Charity Raffle

As with all of our conferences, we want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to contribute to worthy cause! We will be running a raffle where you can win a selection of mathematical prizes, with all proceeds going to the Macmillan Cancer Support.

Friday Night Meet-up

It's a MathsConf tradition for delegates arriving on Friday to meet up at a local bar to catchup with the community, network and talk all things mathematics.

We'll be sending out further information to all ticket holders nearer the time.