INA to host EMI mathematics programme for teachers

Wednesday 01 March 2017

Isaac Newton Academy will be hosting an exciting maths programme this summer for teachers of secondary maths. The Exeter Mathematics Institute (EMI) is led by teachers at Phillips Exeter Academy in the US, the home of Harkness teaching.

The Exeter Mathematics Institute (EMI) consists of four days of workshops from July 17th -20th   2017, offered at minimal cost to selected UK schools. The EMI programme has been in existence since 1992, and has a tradition of continued partnership with several urban school districts. In the past twenty-four years, EMI has offered workshops for teachers from over 25 US cities as well as London.

The instructors for these workshops are members of the Mathematics Department of the Phillips Exeter Academy. Exeter is an independent, coeducational boarding school of approximately 1000 students in grades 9-12. Founded in 1781, Exeter is located in southeastern New Hampshire.


The Philosophy and Goals of the Programme

The goal of EMI is simply to help improve the mathematics education delivered to students in urban public schools. We believe that certain principles of quality mathematics education apply in all settings. These principles include:

  • Making the classroom student-centred rather than teacher-centred
  • Keeping the mathematics interesting, correct, and within a real world problem-solving context when possible
  • Encouraging students to ‘get their hands dirty solving problems’, searching for patterns, using technology where appropriate or simply drawing diagrams on graph paper
  • Working from specific examples towards seeing generalisations rather than the reverse
  • Promoting cooperative learning through some group or partner activities and by encouraging discussions and verbal explanations
  • Letting students study maths at all levels, not just prepare to do maths someday.


Basic Structure of the Workshops

Each day is designed to have six hours of instructional time which is broken into two or three different courses, and the materials for all of the courses are taken from the problem sets used at Phillips Exeter Academy. The individual courses will be chosen based on feedback garnered during the registration process.  In the London 2015 EMI workshops the following courses were offered: Probability Refresher, Using Parametric Equations from the Start, Problems that Bridge Alg/Geometry to Higher Maths, Harkness Teaching, Statistics Activities, and Geometry Problems that Reinforce Algebra Skills.  Homework will be assigned and collaboration on assignments is encouraged.


Schools are encouraged to send 2 maths teachers to the 4 day programme in order to get maximum impact from the training. Last year INA sent two of the maths department to the workshops and their feedback was as follows:

“I attended the EMI last year at Wellington College and it was a brilliant opportunity to brush up on my subject knowledge with maths colleagues from lots of different types of schools.

It was interesting to see how the problem packs link topics together in really creative ways and I particularly enjoyed discussing the Harkness teaching approach in mathematics. The sessions gave me ideas about how to make my lessons more student-led and encourage students to be independent and resilient learners.

I left the course with an aching brain from the challenging maths and a pack full of interesting problems that we are now weaving in to our schemes of learning.”

Laura Franklin, Head of Maths, INA


“The EMI programme was a refreshing opportunity to spend a good amount time tackling interesting maths problems.

It was really interesting to see how some concepts are introduced to students in a different way in America, and we had some interesting conversations about how we could transfer some of this to the UK.

I thoroughly enjoyed the few days and would recommend it to any maths teacher that enjoys working together to solve problems.”

Geeta Gohil, Second in Maths, INA


Teachers are encouraged to reside together for the 4 days of the programme, and we are assisting delegates with arranging accommodation in a hotel near to the school, so that they can work on their homework together and continue mathematical and pedagogical conversations over dinner and beyond. However for teachers in London schools, day participation is of course an option. The cost without accommodation for the 4 day programme is £250 per delegate, or £400 for two teachers from a school. This covers meals, instruction and materials.


To reserve places on the EMI programme at Isaac Newton Academy in July 2017, please email Sam Jones at  by Monday 20th March 2017.