Case Study: Parsons Heath Primary School Caitlin Gordon
Mathletics Case Studies
We know Mathletics delivers powerful results wherever it is used, but don’t take our word for it. Take a look at what teachers across the country are saying about how Mathletics is impacting learning in their schools.
Mathletics on the menu as Colchester primary school works to improve its Ofsted rating
The Challenges Faced:
In December 2013, the school’s Ofsted rating fell from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement.’ A new headteacher and deputy were appointed the following September and together with their dedicated staff have been working hard to improve – particularly the quality of teaching.
One of the areas of particular interest to new deputy head Mr Millbourne, who had been promoted from within the school, was maths. Ofsted mentioned that some work teachers set in mathematics;’… is too easy for most-able pupils and too difficult where pupils have not grasped the learning to start with.’ A key aim is to improve the quality of teaching in Key Stage 2 to make it consistently good, by setting work for pupils at the right level of difficulty and providing appropriate work so that pupils develop their understanding.
September 2014 also saw the introduction of the new ‘tougher’ National Curriculum, which included significant changes to primary maths, with more expected of children at an earlier age, such as the introduction of basic fractions for five-year-olds and precise understanding of place value and number bonds by age 7.
About the school:
Parsons Heath is a Church of England primary school on the outskirts of Colchester in Essex. It has 209 pupils on roll aged from 4 to 11and it aims for them all to be well educated, happy, confident and to appreciate its Christian values of ‘belonging, trust, respect, friendship, compassion and endurance.’
“From the teaching side, we find Mathletics a huge help and a real timesaver – it’s a great teaching tool and workbook. There’s no marking to do, because the children get immediate feedback when using it.”
Mr Millbourne, Deputy Head at Parsons Heath Primary School.
The school introduced a combination of different strategies to improve its teaching and Ofsted ranking.
“We had to think creatively and have obviously got a detailed school development plan in place,” explained Mr Millbourne. “But two ideas in particular have had a significant impact on maths throughout the school. Our extension of the school day and a careful examination of the resources we were providing have both involved a renewed focus on our use of Mathletics, games-based challenge and reward software from 3P Learning, which we use for our Year 5 and 6 pupils.
“We first bought Mathletics in 2013 but only used it at a low level, principally for homework, and – as I see now – not effectively enough to push the children.We had it, but were not promoting it – now all that has changed!
“As part of our extended school day we have introduced a morning study club, starting at 8am, during which the children enjoy a free breakfast and the chance to use Mathletics.
“We’ve had a great take up from our year six children – technically attendance is optional but 29 out of 30 pupils get up early to join us, which we really appreciate. They then join their classes at 8.50, set up and ready for the day.
“Mathletics continues to feature during maths lessons – we do 20 minutes every day in school and also use it for homework setting and assessment tests, which are really informative.”
“As the school has raised the profile of Mathletics, it has also seen a generally improved picture of maths teaching and learning. The children love it.”
As the school has raised the profile of Mathletics, it has also seen a generally improved picture of maths teaching and learning.
“The children love it,” said Mr Millbourne. “Our Year 6 children have even volunteered to run a club for younger pupils using the app on their iPads. Live Mathletics is their default – they like the competition and are gagging to get the school into a top 10 position. So much so that whenever they feature in the top 50 UK schools we take a screen shot and post it on the school windows for the parents to see. Our parents have been hugely supportive of our efforts – not least in getting up themselves to get the children to school for 8am!
“From the teaching side, we find Mathletics a huge help and a real time saver – it’s a great teaching tool and workbook. There’s no marking to do, because the children get immediate feedback when using it. During lessons and as homework, teachers can set appropriate, focused activities for individual pupils.
Teachers and pupils alike are big fans of the reward certificates, which are printed out and presented in assembly.
“We can see that results are moving in the right direction and showing good improvement,” said Mr Millbourne. “We have really enthusiastic and supportive staff, all working hard to get the best out of their pupils, and Mathletics is definitely a really useful resource for them.”
“From my point of view, our senior leadership team has immediate and easy access to the results. I can track trends and identify strengths and weaknesses to action.”
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