Focus on maths teaching sees GCSE grades improve

Published: Thursday, 23rd August 2018

A clear focus by education leaders on improving maths attainment in Stoke-on-Trent has helped more students achieve strong GCSE passes.

Provisional GCSE figures released today (Thursday) show that 39.9 per cent of students achieved strong passes in the subject (grades nine to four) – an increase of 3.7 per cent on last year. A total of 60 per cent of pupils achieved a standard pass in Maths (grades nine to five) up 0.1 per cent on last year.

The provisional figures also show that 53.8 per cent of students achieved strong passes in Maths and English (grades nine to five) – up 0.5 per cent on results day 12 months ago.

The figures are based on the results of 2,156 pupils studying at 18 schools, academies and colleges across the city.

The Co-operative Academy in Burslem and St Thomas More Catholic Academy in Longton have both achieved double-digit increases in students achieving strong passes in Maths and English. Pupils at the Excel Academy in Sneyd Green achieved a 13 per cent increase in strong maths passes and pupils at the Discovery Academy in Bentilee achieved a nine per cent increase in strong passes in the subject.

The improved performance in maths follows a clear focus by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, schools and partners in raising attainment levels. In 2016 the authority invested £500,000 towards a Maths Excellence Partnership, supporting the professional development of maths teachers, helping trainee teachers to build their skills in school classrooms, and offering bursaries to retain maths teachers in the city.

Over the last 12 months, schools and academies have been working closely together, developing networks to give extra support to leaders and teachers focusing on teaching, learning, curriculum and school-to-school support.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said: “It is pleasing to see that all the hard work by students and teachers is being rewarded in the increasing number of higher grades in GCSE maths results. Schools and teachers are working effectively together through the help of the Maths Excellence Partnership to run collaborative targeted revision days and to regularly share good practice and resources for the benefit of students across the city, more of whom are now continuing to study maths beyond GCSE.

“These provisional results mean we know where our strengths and weaknesses are, and where we can target improvements for the future. We know that performance in primary schools at key stage one and key stage two levels is improving, and it is important that pupils are able to build on that impetus moving into GCSEs.

“Our approach to focus on higher-end maths performance is working, and we now need to continue this work into other areas of the curriculum. We know that attainment eight figures, which groups performance across wider academic disciplines, has fallen slightly. But our challenge to government is to give more support and focus on helping pupils achieve vocational qualifications.

“Last year a completely new assessment system was introduced for GCSEs, with more exams at the end of the year rather than course work, and more content in syllabuses. The changes saw attainment fall nationally. The new system last year accounted for Maths and English GCSEs; this year more than 20 other subjects have been added. It means students are facing more assessments that are more and more challenging.

“The provisional results are really encouraging. We are driving up the standards of education in the city; now more pupils than ever before are at good or outstanding Ofsted-rated schools. But we know there is still much work to be done.

“I’d like to thank all staff, pupils, parents and families for their hard work over the last year.”

Any young person can contact the city council careers service for help on and after GCSE results day. They can talk to an adviser or make a careers guidance appointment simply by calling into One Smithfield in the city centre, ringing 01782 237747 or emailing careers@stoke.gov.uk.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.