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The Practitioner Research in Mathematics Education (PRiME) day conference is a long-standing event run by the BERA Mathematics Education special interest group (SIG) in collaboration with the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics (BSRLM). It provides a platform for teachers of mathematics in early years, primary, secondary, further education or higher education to share their classroom research projects with fellow practitioners. In 2023 there was an opportunity to consider the international perspective on this as we welcomed delegates from around the globe.

We were delighted that Dr Nancy Barclay was able to join us, presenting her experience of close to practice research in the keynote address. Nancy’s recent paper, ‘Valid and valuable: Lower attaining pupils’ contributions to mixed attainment mathematics in primary schools’ published in Research in Mathematics Education, has been recognised with the Janet Duffin award in 2023. In this BERA Blog special issue practitioner researchers share their research in progress following the 2023 PRiME event. Nancy provides a summary of her keynote address, focusing on her experience of working with pupils and their teachers in primary mathematics classrooms. She describes how close observation provided opportunities to scrutinise what pupils noticed during their engagement with rich mathematical tasks. She identifies that this approach enabled her to appreciate the contribution that typically lower-attaining pupils make when working in mixed-attainment pairs.

In a climate of quasi-research-based professional development dominating teacher development discourse, it is imperative that teachers and other practitioners have supportive spaces in which to share their research and network with others. Lewis Barrett-Rodger, a deputy headteacher in a primary school, contributes to the blog collection with reflections on the PRiME conference. Inspired by the research he encountered there, he encourages mathematics education researchers to consider issues from different perspectives. He questions the predominance of measurement in mathematics research, illustrating this through the example of studies into mathematics anxiety. Lewis reminds us of the importance of qualitative research to understand learners’ experiences.

Sang Hyun Kim joined the PRiME day from New Zealand where he is researching approaches to mathematics teaching at undergraduate level. In a study that will likely be of interest beyond mathematics, he explores the affordances of in-person tutorials and their enduring value. In further education, Amber Barnitt’s research focuses on the impact that the policy in England mandating GCSE resits (or equivalent) for 16–19-year-olds has on students’ motivation and emotional response to mathematics. Mariam Makramalla shares her perspective from NewGiza University in Egypt. In her presentation at the day conference she presented a case study of curricular transfer, and in the blog post she considers appearances of mathematics in different cultures. Mariam calls for increased awareness and sensitivity to the way cultural heritage affects our understanding and practice of mathematics.

We would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the day conference, with particular thanks to those who have shared their reflections and thoughts on mathematics education research in this special issue.

The next BERA Practitioner Research in Mathematics Education (PRiME) day conference will be held online on Saturday 3 February 2024 – details are available here … Save the day!