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Maths attainment in Suffolk is improving, county council bosses say ahead of review

PUBLISHED: 16:34 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 05 March 2018

Suffolk County Council's Gordon Jones said progress was being made in maths attainment. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Suffolk County Council's Gordon Jones said progress was being made in maths attainment. 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 into progress gets underway this week.

Kesgrave High School, where the maths hub is based. Picture: ARCHANTKesgrave High School, where the maths hub is based. Picture: ARCHANT

On 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 Thursday’s meeting revealed that the percentage of pupils in Suffolk achieving the expected standard at Key Stage Two was 64% in 2016 compared to the 70% national average, and 70% last year compared to the 75% national average.

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 children’s services, education and skills, 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: “As a result, pupils in schools across Suffolk are developing a deeper understanding of maths that will serve them well in the future.”

As well as the Raising the Bar scheme, the Maths Hub has also been instrumental.

Based at Kesgrave High School for Suffolk, the hub has been implementing national programmes for boosting attainment, as well as 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 planned for the next year will mean 96 schools can benefit from additional 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 benefitting 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 just need to join that up.”

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