Targeted support aims to boost Swindon schools' maths results

By Ben Fitzgerald - 18 December 2018

CommunitySecondary

Maths results in Swindon are on the up thanks to the work of a partnership board which aims to improve educational outcomes in the borough’s schools.

The Swindon Challenge Board was formed in April last year to help drive educational opportunities and attainment in Swindon’s schools, which forms part of Swindon Borough Council’s Priorities and Pledges.

Funding has been set aside by the council and schools have been able to bid for money in order to access training and improvement programmes to help achieve the outcomes in the Swindon Challenge strategy.

Latest figures from the Department for Education show that Swindon has risen 45 places to 71st in the national league tables for Progress 8 in Maths. Progress 8 shows the improvement children have made from their Year 6 SATs to when they take their GCSEs in Year 11.

Forty-six per cent of students also achieved a Maths score of 5 and above, a four per cent increase from last year. The Attainment 8 measure for Maths also increased pushing Swindon 24 places up the national league tables (90th).

Schools across Swindon have been using Swindon Challenge funding to boost Maths attainment. Dorcan Academy ran a maths-focused residential weekend, while a number of schools have used funding to sign up to PiXL (Partners in Excellence) to benefit from maths-related improvement initiatives. PiXL is a not-for-profit partnership of more than 2,500 schools who share best practice.

Lawn Manor Academy has introduced Maths mastery and Swindon Academy has also worked closely with a number of schools in order to share best practice and improve results.

Sherryl Bareham, Head Teacher at The Dorcan Academy, said: “Swindon Challenge funding enabled us to offer our students a unique opportunity to combine an outdoor pursuits residential at PGL with intensive maths intervention and revision sessions. 

“The experience boosted the confidence of some of our most disadvantaged students and enabled them to achieve success in their GCSE maths. Our recent Ofsted report which judged leadership and management as good, stated that ‘pupils are making good progress in a number of subjects’ and that ‘in mathematics, pupils are reaching standards broadly in line with those in other schools’.

“This is a significant improvement from where the school was two years ago and we are delighted with the support we have received from Swindon Challenge.”

Sandra Muir, Head Teacher at Lawn Manor Academy, said: “The Swindon Challenge Board has supported Lawn Manor with the Maths Mastery work in Year 7 and also visualisers across the school to enhance teaching and learning.

“This has resulted in the progress that Lawn Manor pupils make in Maths being in the top 40 per cent in the country. Science progress is also in the top 20 per cent nationally. The Swindon Challenge Board has enabled schools to collaborate and learn from each other to raise standards across the town.”

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