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New video scheme developed by Ipswich maths teachers aim to boost pupils' achievements




Thousands of videos for solving maths problems have been developed by teachers in Ipswich as part of a successful programme to boost attainment for pupils at risk of falling behind or on the cusp of a higher grade.

The Ipswich Opportunity Area – a government-funded programme to boost attainment in the town over four years – commissioned a series of online video solutions to maths problems called screencasts, in which pupils can be talked through how to solve particular problems.

The £70,000 scheme was developed by Northgate High School maths teacher Charlie Dawson five years ago as a means of helping pupils with their homework and revision, and has recorded more than 2,000 questions in the last two years for the opportunity area.

The scheme was developed by maths teacher Charlie Dawson
The scheme was developed by maths teacher Charlie Dawson

Those questions are gathered on a dedicated website open to everyone, allowing Key Stage 3 and GCSE students to get instant explainers for solving sums they are struggling with.

It aims to make pupils more independent in their learning but still have the necessary support in place.

It proved an invaluable tool during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year, when pupils were learning from home.

“It was hugely positive at Northgate,” Mr Dawson said.

“Pupils can access it so easily on their phone at home, on a laptop or iPad.

“Anyone can use them and I use them for homework.

“Pupils get to know that we are buying into them and parents just love it.”

A trial of 50 pupils was carried out with mentoring by sixth formers, where pupils were encouraged to answer questions and use the screencasts as a helpful explainer when they got stuck, rather than feeling defeated by the sums.

That trial found those pupils made 61% more progress than their peers.

Progress 8 scores – the government measure for how much pupils improve– found scores of +0.6 and +0.5 for the last two cohorts using the videos.

Under Progress 8, 0 is average – with -0.5 being behind anticipated progress and +0.5 being better than expected progress.

Other schools in Ipswich are already using the videos. Bosses as part of Maths Week England this week are hoping more schools across Suffolk and the country will use the resource, as well as highlighting to parents that the videos are available for their children to use during revision, homework, or Covid-enforced home-learning.

Opportunity Area minister Michelle Donelan said: “This government’s investment in our 12 Opportunity Areas is helping to level up standards and confidence in maths for thousands of pupils.

“Maths is an essential skill in everyday life and in the workplace, and these projects are even more important now as we recover from the impact of the pandemic on our young people.

“In Ipswich, these resources are not only improving pupils’ grades but also their confidence in tackling maths problems for themselves.”

Click here to access the videos.

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