The Radclyffe High School, Oldham
The Radclyffe School is a mixed comprehensive school on the south side of Oldham. New buildings, opened in February 2008, boast up-to-date facilities for learning and sport. Classrooms are equipped with an interactive whiteboards and digital projectors with access to the internet. Each subject area has its own suite of specialist classrooms with fast broadband and an in-house intranet and VTLE, providing access to digital resources for both staff and students.
Mathematics is led by a former consultant who is able to arrange and deliver CPD opportunities to teachers and TAs linked to mathematics.
Whole school GCSE results are up in 2010 by 13% to 89%. 51% of students achieved 5 A* to C grades including Mathematics and English. Mathematics results are up from 53% to 57% gaining A* to C.
The school has a range of “other adults” who support children with their leaning; learning mentors, classroom assistants and cover super visors. These will support mainly the lower-ability children and some for whom English is not the first language.
- The mathematics department has a “specialist” learning support assistant for 60% or more of his time. Much of his work is with lower-ability pupils in Key Stage 3 and with intervention groups in Key Stage 4.
- Learning mentors will support children with specific difficulties in mathematics.
- Some cover supervisors have sound subject knowledge in mathematics and are able to interpret and explain pupil activities left by absent teachers.
- The school is developing a local community unit, the 'ROC', offering a further example of Other Adults working with students
The mathematics TA has good subject knowledge. His strengths lie in building relationships with students and his approach when students are “stuck”, [explaining how to work through the problem, discuss key concepts and model solutions]. He notes success with less- confident pupils in Key Stage 3 who have made good progress following some short-term withdrawal and intensive support. Another success is the support role he offers with “borderline- intervention” groups in Key Stage 4.
Learning mentors’ support varies in relation to identified pupils’ needs but will involve help to complete earlier work or more intensive coaching in preparation for GCSE. One mentor has good subject knowledge and enjoys access to courses and professional development through the mathematics subject leader. Although his work is not mathematics-specific, this will be a key focus as part of a whole school priority. It is also an area in which he is confident in and enjoys working.
Future development needs in mathematics include new ways of presenting mathematical ideas to pupils. TAs and some teachers have been offered new resources and advice about self-evaluation tools on the NCETM portal . Further liaison through mathematics team meetings, both formal and informal, in school will enhance this development.