- Published: 06/05/2016
I recently attended a Saturday maths enrichment event at Keele University, whose campus borders the Potteries conurbation of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. The event was focused on support for year 11 students from Stoke-on-Trent state schools who were aiming to achieve grades A or A* in GCSE Mathematics. It was attended by about 120 students from 12 different schools from across the city, and was the second in a series of four such Saturdays on consecutive weeks in late April and early May. The format for the day was for each student to attend four out of twelve sessions, each concentrating on the most demanding aspects of different GCSE Mathematics topics (algebraic fractions, coordinate geometry, formulae, indices, mensuration, probability, proof, simultaneous equations, surds, trig, trig graphs and vectors). Over three of the days each student is able to attend all 12 sessions, with the fourth Saturday to consolidate what they have learned by working through and reviewing past paper questions intended to identify A and A*candidates.
Well-qualified, confident maths teachers from nine of Stoke’s state-funded secondary schools, several of whom had studied for maths degrees and/or trained as mathematics teachers at Keele University, delivered the sessions. I was able to attend parts of all 12 sessions and was thoroughly impressed by the consistently high standard of the teaching, and the commitment and enthusiasm of both the students and the teachers. It was a really intensive day of top-quality maths teaching and learning, and the welcoming university venue, and smooth organisation, helped to make it even more special for both students and teachers. The students and teachers that I spoke to were all really positive about the programme. They particularly enjoyed working with teachers and students from other schools and having the days hosted by the university. From what I saw, I am convinced the programme will make a valuable contribution to improving these students’ GCSE maths results this summer. Best of luck to them all!
This programme is supported through the Stoke-on-Trent Maths Excellence Partnership, a local initiative designed to address low-achievement in GCSE Maths across the city. Back in February I spoke at the launch of the partnership. The atmosphere at the launch was hugely positive. Maths teachers across Stoke seem genuinely determined to work together to improve student outcomes from secondary maths education. As the partnership's work develops over the coming year, events like this will be just one aspect of its city-wide push to improve secondary maths achievement for all students in Stoke.
The partnership involves constructive cooperation and collaboration between schools and colleges across Stoke-on-Trent, supported through the local authority and Keele University, and with national expertise offered through MEI and the NCETM.
The A/A* GCSE Maths programme at Keele University epitomises the spirit of the Stoke Partnership. It’s the same spirit that is driving the work of the Maths Hubs – maths teachers working together and supporting one another, both within and between schools, with a shared mission to improve children’s maths education.