Improving attainment in Mathematics
When I became Director of Mathematics at my school, my first performance management target was to improve the outcome of those students in the lower prior attainment group. Analysis of this group of students showed that a large proportion of these students were on the SEND register. Lesson observations and work scrutiny of these groups indicated that aspirations for these students were very low. The work they were being given provided no challenge to them and was all based on simple number skills. On speaking to the teachers, they believed that until they were confident in working with number there was no point in moving on to other topics.
When I took on the teaching of our lowest set, I decided to follow the same programme of study as our C/D borderline groups. Instead of differentiating by the difficulty of the task, I differentiated by the amount of support given within lessons. When students struggled with a topic they were given one-to-one support to help them move on. When the objective was not related to calculation work, they were allowed to make use of a calculator to help support them in other topics (for example, in solving equations such as 6x = 66, I did not want them failing to succeed because they could not do 66 ÷ 6).
In the previous year, the majority of the class got grade Gs and Fs in their GCSE with the average point score being a grade F-. At the end of this year, we had a full spread of grades ranging from grade G up to grade D, with the average point score being a grade E-. The prior attainment of both groups were similar.