Duffryn High School, Newport held up as example of best practice in maths
10:36am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
A NEWPORT high school has been held up as a national example of good practice in maths lessons by schools inspectorate Estyn.
In a report released today, Estyn praised Duffryn High School’s maths department for the range of strategies it has put in place to improve consistency in planning and ensure lessons follow an appropriate structure, with “good pace and challenge”.
Team meetings focus on classroom practice, trial strategies and working together to develop a set of shared resources.
Under the leadership of head of maths Mr Paul Thompson, the school has done much to improve maths teaching across the board.
Teachers observe each other’s lessons in pairslifting the quality of teaching with pupils more engaged.
Pupils recognise a common structure to their lessons and are aware there are opportunities for them to be actively involved, said the report.
The Argus recently reported on Duffyn maths teacher Rob Gregory’s successful use of online tutorials for pupils.
Despite this local success, secondary schools across Wales need to raise standards in mathematics in general, Estyn said, with maths the lowest performing core subject at GCSE in Wales and proportionately the lowest in the UK. The Welsh Government has proposed introducing two new maths GCSEs in 2015, one covering numeracy and another covering maths techniques, in a bid to improve results and standards.
Estyn chief inspector Ann Keane, said: “Many Welsh employers are concerned at the lack of mathematical skills demonstrated by employees. Research shows that about 44 per cent of employers have invested in numeracy skills training for school and college leavers.”
She said results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009 showed attainment in Wales was significantly behind the rest of the UK in maths and had dropped since 2006.
“Although standards in mathematics are disappointing, it is encouraging to see pockets of good practice in our secondary schools. With good teaching and planning in place, schools can help pupils to achieve their full potential. I encourage all teachers and headteachers to read our report and case studies, as part of their drive to raise standards and improve mathematics teaching.”
Inspectors say there is a lack of support for the professional development of maths teachers, whether it is from other schools, local authorities or regional consortia. The report recommends more support, advice and professional development opportunities.
Estyn’s report has a series of further recommendations for schools, such as improving the quality of teaching and learning, using assessment to monitor pupils’ progress and sharing best practice.
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