Maths results add up thanks to Swindon Challenge support

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.

Published: Tuesday, 18th December 2018

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.

Councillor Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and School Attainment, said: “Swindon Challenge has always been underpinned by a collective desire to improve attainment and outcomes for young people in Swindon and I have been greatly impressed by the commitment shown so far.

“The funding provided by the Council has allowed a number of schools to gain external expertise, share best practice and support each other to do the very best for our school children. But this is just the start and we will be looking for this to continue in other subjects so we set the bar even higher and ensure our schools are achieving above the national average as outlined in the Council’s Priorities and Pledges.”

Swindon Challenge brings together all key stakeholders in education including the Regional Schools’ Commissioner, head teachers, the teaching schools, governors, local businesses and senior council leaders. Ofsted also has observer status to the board.

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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