Bridging transition to support accelerated progress through mastery and application in Maths

Bridgwater College Trust

1. Overview

The Bridgwater project aimed to bring the expertise from across the region in Maths to the Opportunity Area of West Somerset. Teaching School Alliances and MATs from Devon and Somerset were working with the CLF Boolean Maths Hub to develop mastery and application in maths from EYFS KS4, increasing rates of progress and levels of attainment. The project focused on raising maths attainment for all, but also focused on closing the gap for disadvantaged students, through developing capacity and expertise in the subject at classroom level, and focusing on transfers between primary and secondary phases.

The project addressed the progress and attainment in Maths which were a regional priority.

Progress for disadvantaged students in maths was significantly less strong than those from a non-disadvantaged background which led to lower levels of attainment at the end of KS4.

Transition between organisations was not effective because the leadership of maths either did not take full advantage of the specific pupil level information available to ensure that teaching built upon prior knowledge or in the case in the Opportunity Area which has a three tier system, QLA is 2 years out of date at the time of transition.

Change the practice, structure and leadership of maths across the primary settings to upskill and embed mastery in maths. Through training maths teachers in mastery, they will generate capacity for our maths subject leads to embed mastery in maths across KS2-4.

As well as embedding maths mastery to the local system, the project built in hard wired collaboration between the OA schools and outstanding schools to support the development of T&L across transition points.

2. Good practice to share with others interested in running school improvement projects to ensure projects deliver the intended outcome.

  1. Initial meeting with Headteachers of the schools involved in order to build trust, develop mutual understanding and set out expectations worked very well.                                                                                                                                            
  2. Continued close communication with those involved in leading aspects of the work as the project progressed ensured that momentum was maintained.
  3. High quality training provided, in particular, by Boolean, built confidence and expertise in practitioners involved in the teaching of maths.
  4. Extending training to teaching assistants and Early Years practitioners reached colleagues who, despite having a vital role in maths education, were often previously ill-equipped to take on such responsibilities.
  5. To emphasise point 4 above. The focus on providing EYFS practitioners with high quality training has been very succesful. At the beginning of this project, colleagues working in this vital area were especially lacking in mastery of maths skills. They are now much better equipped to support children at the beginning of their educational journeys. Consequently, as children move into higher years, they will be better prepared and ready to make more rapid progress.
  6. The production and use of PLCs will greatly enhance academic transition in maths between phases.
  7. Facilitating the production of tangible resources such as the transition booklets provided immediate impact.

3. Lessons Learned - What the project may do differently in the future

Schools are busy places with very many more commitments and focuses than those of just one project. 26 schools were involved in this particular project, all involved and all benefiting from it. Inevitably, however, some schools participated more enthusiastically than others and some needed cajoling. If this project leader were to lead a similar project in the future, he would issue some form of memorandum of understanding setting out the expectations of participating schools in return for the benefits accrued.

4. Sustainability measures taken by the project to ensure improvement are suatained beyond the funding period

  1. High quality training for all those involved in maths education has been at the heart of this project, providing practitioners with the skills, confidence and enthusiasm that will benefit future generations of children.
  2. The strong focus on EYFS which has created a solid base for children to base their learning in maths.
  3. The purchase of high-quality, robust manipulatives which will support children’s’ learning in maths for years to come.
  4. Facilitating inter-school/ inter-phase working which has broken down long-standing enmities, built trust and improved communication. As a result of the work of this project, collaborative groups of schools have been created to aid student transition across the phases. These groups are now well-established and the benefits are such that schools will want to continue with the work beyond the life of the project.
  5. The bottom up leadership model employed when working with the schools in the West Somerset area has brought about huge benefits in terms of ownership and buy-in.
  6. Support with resources such as Heagarty maths, which some schools have come to see as invaluable and will likely purchase themselves in future.
  7. The Transition Booklets produced during this project are very highly thought of and will come to be seen as invaluable, therefore extending their use for years to come.
  8. Resources, such as Transition booklets, made during the course of the project will be made more widely available to Somerset schools as well as colleagues coordinating, the work of the West Somerset Opportunity Area.
  9. The Project manager has committed to making himself available beyond the life of the project in order to share what has been learned.