Last Friday, The Totteridge Academy’s Maths Department were told that they had been shortlisted to be named ‘Maths Team of the Year’ at the TES Schools Awards.
The national awards recognise the most outstanding individuals and institutions that the state and independent sector has to offer, with a hugely competitive range of applications each year.
The maths team has had a transformative 18 months since the school joined United Learning and new Principal Chris Fairbairn took up post. Their complete overhaul of the school’s maths provision has led to significant improvements in student attainment. In 2016, only 55% of students achieved a pass in their Maths GCSE. By 2017, following an intensive programme of intervention and changes in teaching and learning practice, 73% of students achieved at least a 4 – the equivalent of the old ‘C’ grade. Staff credit the considerable jump in results to a new ideology; believing that each and every child can achieve a strong maths GCSE.
With an emphasis on knowledge and getting the fundamentals in place, students are now making better progress than ever – including for higher attaining and Pupil Premium children. The department’s Progress 8 score is now +1.14, which is well above the national average. Ongoing tracking of students’ achievement is carefully managed and used to create completely personalised revision materials, such as practice questions and Hegarty Maths videos, for every child.
The maths team also implemented new class layouts – encouraging students to work in groups and take responsibility for their own learning and that of their peers as well. These groups are even carefully calibrated so that children are working with the right partners to properly challenge and support them.
Students have fed back very positively on their experience of the new maths provision. One of last year’s Year 11s said his teacher had “motivated me to work all throughout this year” and that he had got the grade he was hoping for.
Another student said of his teacher:
“I'd like to thank you very much for getting my maths GCSE back on track and for honestly being the greatest maths teacher this school has seen and genuinely one of the nicest teachers we have.”
Thanos Gidaropoulos, also a maths teacher and Assistant Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said:
“We have always believed in Peter Drucker’s phrase that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’, so it was wonderful to see that the hard work in creating a real student-led group ethos, where students hold each other to account, resulted in such a significant increase in academic performance here at The Totteridge Academy. We’re all delighted and very grateful for the recognition.”
Tom Knott, maths teacher and Assistant Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said:
“We’re so overwhelmed to be recognised for the hard work we put in last year to improve the children’s opportunities for learning in maths. The students responded wonderfully and met the high expectations we set for them, even surpassing them! I was particularly impressed by the phenomenal engagement with Hegarty Maths for independent study, as well as a relentless drive for improvement in each and every lesson.”
Chris Fairbairn, Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said of the news:
“As anyone at the school knows, we have made huge strides forward at The Totteridge Academy and the impact on students’ results so far has been fantastic. Our staff have been key drivers of this change and work tirelessly each day to ensure that students get the most out of every lesson. I am delighted that our maths team in particular have been recognised in the TES shortlist for their excellent work; the difference they have made to their students’ attitudes and school experience is inspiring to see.”
The winners will be revealed at the TES’s gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 22 June 2018.