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Ipswich given £50,000 boost for innovative maths GCSE project

PUBLISHED: 08:11 31 January 2019

Chantry Academy's Craig D'Cunha said the scheme had raised grades and aspirations for pupils.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chantry Academy's Craig D'Cunha said the scheme had raised grades and aspirations for pupils. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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An Ipswich education project has been given a £50,000 boost by central government to continue a successful scheme providing extra tuition for struggling GCSE maths pupils.

The What A Difference A Day Makes programme was held at the University of Suffolk on Saturdays. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe What A Difference A Day Makes programme was held at the University of Suffolk on Saturdays. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Ipswich Opportunity Area – a scheme by the Department for Education to transform education outcomes in deprived areas – ran a six week pilot at the end of 2018 called ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’.

It provided 75 pupils across five schools who needed help to improve their predicted GCSE maths grade with additional Saturday maths sessions.

Following positive feedback from the pilot, the Department for Education has confirmed a further £50,000 will be provided to continue the scheme.

Katrina Gardiner, programme manager, said: “Maths leads from across those schools [involved] are coming together and taking each of the sessions, and they get to experience other teaching methods.

Katrina Gardiner said the feedback to the scheme had been positive. Picture: DAVID GARRADKatrina Gardiner said the feedback to the scheme had been positive. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

“Conversations with students have been really, really positive.

“Once we can prove that it is successful, it’s building that long term legacy of schools working together.

“It’s something that’s really nice to see and really tangible.”

Mrs Gardiner said she hoped the scheme could also be rolled out for English pupils needing additional support at a later date.

The project featured youngsters taking a mock exam at the beginning and end to benchmark their progress, and provide revision cards for further areas to work on.

Feedback from the students in the pilot revealed an 86% response to the sessions being helpful.

Results showed that students progressed by an average of 1.3 grades, while 41% of pupils achieved at least a grade 4 in their mock GCSE exam.

The additional funding means that a further three courses can take place – one in the spring and two more in the next academic year.

Craig D’Cunha, headteacher at Chantry Academy which took part in the pilot, said: “Addressing social challenges like these are big ambitions but programmes like What A Difference A Day Makes brings schools together to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds raise their grades and their aspirations.”

Ipswich was one of 12 opportunity areas launched by the DfE last year aimed at improving education outcomes for all pupils regardless of background.

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