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Working together to improve GCSE Maths outcomes in Stoke

Created on 06 May 2016 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 06 May 2016 by ncetm_administrator
" Maths teachers working together and supporting one another, both within and between schools, with a shared mission to improve children’s maths education. "

Charlie's Angles

Thoughts on topical issues of mathematics education from the NCETM’s Director, Charlie Stripp

Working together to improve GCSE Maths outcomes in Stoke

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.


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17 May 2016 15:04
Interesting to read about this partnership when I worry about how neighbouring schools all too often seem to benefit from competing rather than collaborating with each other. Hopefully giving this national coverage will encourage other local collaborations to talk about what they're doing and inspire them to think on a big scale.
By DebbieBarker
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17 May 2016 11:41
I agree the photo was rubbish - particularly since the integration was wrong! (Why is the +c in the sin bracket, and why is it used at all?!) Plus, written with chalk, and including the journalists' favourite E=mc^2, which is, of course, taught pretty much every lesson in GCSE Maths, apparently. And, along with F=ma, clearly follows the previous integration.
By DaveLynch
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17 May 2016 11:30
Good to hear about this Charlie. I then clicked the link to read about the Stoke-on-Trent Maths Excellence Partnership,and was disappointed to see a press photo of one male teacher, three boys and some gobbledy gook post-GCSE mathematics scrawled on a black board. We need to get some real pictures out there of boys and girls doing appropriate 21st century mathematics.
By CathySmith
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