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Are you ready for inspection?

PREPARING FOR A MATHEMATICS INSPECTION: INSET materials for the primary school. By June Lowenstein and Lynda Maple. BEAM pound;19.50.

This book is not about pre-inspection quick fixes. If your school maths policy is not sorted out at the time of an Office for Standards in Education inspection notification there's not a lot you can do.

What the book offers are clear long-term whole-school strategies for developing a maths policy that will pass muster with the inspectors.

It is divided into five sections: roles and responsibilities; monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of maths teaching; developing a mathematics policy; planning within the classroom; and fostering positive attitudes to maths.

Sections can be used in isolation to address particular policy gaps; or one y one as the basis for a review process or for developing a policy from scratch.

Rather than being narrowly prescriptive, the approach in each section is a brief description of what inspectors look for, followed by a series of questions and suggestions.

Also included are excellent detailed suggestions for whole-staff training. In the section on monitoring and evaluating, there is one suggestion - guaranteed to set many a classroom buzzing - on developing a whole-school marking policy. The subtle differences between "closed" and "open" maths problems are teased out in another.

But a good starting point would be the session on finding out how children in the school feel about maths.

Paul Harrison is an educational consultant and writer of primary maths books

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