Tom Francome

Tom Francome

School of Education
Lecturer in Secondary Mathematics

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2Tt, United Kingdom
Maths Team of the year 2015Tom joined the Initial Teacher Education team to teach on the Secondary Mathematics programme. After completing his Initial Teacher Training at Birmingham University, Tom taught in schools in the city and worked for many years as a Head of Mathematics and Head of Faculty winning the TES Award for 'Maths Team of the Year 2015'. In 2016 he contributed lesson materials for the EEF funded project on Best Practice in Mixed-Attainment Teaching.  This work was awarded the 2016 BCF-BERA Routledge Curriculum Journal Prize. 
Tom is interested equitable approaches to teaching mathematics and in particular the effects of setting and self-theories. 


 His current research involves cognitive science and variation theory exploring the nature of practising in mathematics.


  • PhD (ongoing) Mathematics Education Centre, MEC Studentship – University of Loughborough
  • MRes  - Educational Studies
  • PGCE  - Secondary Mathematics
  • BSc  - Mathematical Sciences


Tom grew up in Birmingham and studied Mathematics at the University of Birmingham. He then stayed on at the university to complete his teacher training in secondary mathematics. Tom later returned to the university to complete his masters whilst working as a head of mathematics.

Tom has taught mathematics in several Birmingham schools most notably as Head of Mathematics at Kings Norton Girls’ School. He developed an innovative approach with his department, teaching mathematics to mixed-attainment groups through rich, problem-solving tasks. The key aim being for every student to develop as a mathematician and a key philosophy being the belief that every pupil can develop as a mathematician through hard work and effort. Tom’s approach was recognised nationally when his department won the TES Award for 'Maths Team of the Year 2015'.



Tom is interested in all areas of educational research in particular those related to the learning of mathematics. Within this broad area he is especially interested in the effect of grouping practices on pupils’ self-theories, teachers’ beliefs and practices. He is also interested in economy of teacher and learner time and effort,  mathematical imagery’s contribution and the role of subordination in developing ‘functionings’ particularly the idea of ‘practice through progress’. Tom is currently conducting PhD research into the nature of practising in mathematics at the MEC supervised by Dave Hewitt and Ian Jones.

Other activities

In 2008, Tom was part of a group of teachers and teacher educators who formed the Birmingham branch of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics and Mathematical Association. Tom is Chairman of the Birmingham branch.

He is a member of the ‘Science of Education’ working group which considers the work of Caleb Gattegno and challenges traditional views of teaching with an overreliance on memory and works at ways of engaging students’ powers to educate their awareness.

Tom contributed lesson materials for the EEF funded project on Best Practice in Mixed-Attainment Teaching. This work was awarded the 2016 BCF-BERA Routledge Curriculum Journal Prize


Brown, D., Coles, A., Ingram, J.  Benson, I., Bissell, A., Brown, L., Griffin, P., Francome, L., Francome, T., Haworth, A., Hewitt, D., Mason, J., Messum, P, Richards, L., Webb, C., (2018) On Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Awareness, Derby: Association of Teachers of Mathematics (In press)

Francome, T. J. and Hewitt, D. (2017) Practising Mathematics: developing the mathematician as well as the mathematics. Derby: Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

Taylor, B., Francome, T. J. and Hodgen, J. (2017) Best practice in mixed attainment grouping, Mathematics Teaching, (258), pp. 35-39.

Francome, T. J. (2017) Random Thoughts, Mathematics Teaching, 255, pp. 32-33.

Francome, T., (2016) The Empty ProtractorMathematics Teaching, 253, pp.32-33

Watson, A. with Ball, D., Flashman, M. Francome, T., Gibson, M., Hoggard, S. and Robinson, J. (2016) ‘Variation: analysing and designing tasks’, Mathematics Teaching, 252, pp.13-17

Brown, L., Coles, A. Hewitt, D., Benson, I, Francome, L., Francome, T., Haworth, A., Mason, J., Messum, P., Orr, L., & Stansfield, J. (2016) Mathematical Imagery, Derby: Association of teachers of Mathematics. 

Francome, T. (2016) ‘Everyone can be a mathematician’, Mathematics Teaching, 250, pp.14-18

Francome, T. (2014) Experiences of Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Setted and Mixed Settings MRes thesis. University of Birmingham. [Available from: ]

Francome, T. (2012) ReconstructionMathematics Teaching, 229, pp.7-31

View all publications in research portal