Maths project may bring Island up to UK average

Island primary schoolchildren taking part in a special targeted initiative have achieved a 15 per cent improvement in their Key Stage Two maths performance, provisional figures show.

Around half of the Island’s primary schools were involved in the project over a four-term period, and it is now planned to roll the scheme out to all Island primaries.

The Isle of Wight Council, in partnership with Hampshire County Council, devised the project in 2017 and won funding of £155,000 from the Department for Education (DfE).

Starting in summer 2018, it focused on devising and reviewing teaching strategies, supported by external experts to help pupils boost their understanding of maths.

Cabinet member for education, skills and children’s services, Councillor Paul Brading, said: “This is a magnificent achievement and credit should go to all the children involved, their teachers and those who masterminded this project.”

The provisional 15 per cent improvement in maths goes towards the children’s overall ‘age related expectations’ (ARE) grading for reading, writing and maths. The maths improvement will lead to an uplift of nine per cent in the proportion of pupils achieving ARE in the schools involved in the project and Cllr. Brading believes the increase will bring the score for Island primaries ‘broadly in line’ with the national average for maths, even though only half of the schools took part. He said: “It is vital now to secure these improvements for future years.”

Official DfE figures show that 14 of the Island’s primary schools were below or well below average for maths last year, with only one above average, St Saviour’s Catholic Primary in Totland. There were no schools well above average. The statistics for this year will not be published until provisional figures are confirmed.