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‘Progress being made’ to improve maths skills across Suffolk schools

PUBLISHED: 09:25 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 07 March 2018

Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education, Gordon Jones. Picture: James Fletcher

Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education, Gordon Jones. Picture: James Fletcher

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Education bosses at Suffolk County Council have said that “progress is being made” with pupils’ attainment in maths, as a review gets under way this week.

Tomorrow (Thursday), Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny and overview committee will discuss the progress on work to up attainment levels for Suffolk pupils in maths.

Data compiled in a report ahead of the meeting revealed that the percentage of pupils in Suffolk achieving the expected standard at Key Stage Two was 64 per cent in 2016 compared to the 70pc national average, and 70pc last year compared to 75pc nationally.

Last year Suffolk was ranked 143 out of 151 local authorities for attainment and 134th for progress.

A host of measures have been put in place to help make progress, which bosses say have already started to pay dividends.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Suffolk’s children and young people deserve the best education system.

“When the Raising the Bar programme first launched in 2012, we always knew it was going to be a long journey, but through the hard work and commitment of education providers, families, communities and businesses progress is being made.”

He added that a tie-up with maths teachers in Shanghai, where exchanges take place for Suffolk teachers to learn from Chinese practices, had been effective, and said: pupils were “developing a deeper understanding of maths that will serve them well in the future.”

As well as the Raising the Bar scheme, the Kesgrave High School-based Maths Hub has also been instrumental, implementing national programmes for boosting attainment, sharing best practice and training teachers.

Projects which work well but are confined to single schools because of funding are being rolled out to three or four schools, while eight specialist teachers over the next year will mean 96 schools can benefit from training. More than 400 teaching assistants are also being given training.

Dean Rowley, Maths Hub lead, said the full extent of the hub’s benefit would be seen after the next two years, when students benefiting from the hub’s expertise would sit their exams.

He added: “It [maths] needs improving upon in terms of national tables – it’s very low and there are amazing schools in Suffolk, we need to join that up.”

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