Specialists have been drafted in to seven schools in Portsmouth as part of a council support programme to drive up standards across the city.
Fruits of their labour reveal a hike in youngsters hitting the expected standard in maths SATs – reaching 74 per cent this year – up by eight per cent on last year’s figures, and up from 64 per cent in 2016.
It’s hoped training youngsters in maths will be a ‘gateway to excel’ in other subjects across the curriculum – setting them up as potential future scientists, engineers and geographers.
Cabinet member for education at Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Suzy Horton, said: ‘Whatever changes take place in the curriculum maths is one subject which has always stood the test of time.
‘It’s a subject gateway to excel in other curriculum areas. Whilst there are obvious career pathways such as accountancy and engineering, whatever people end up doing will often involve elements of maths.
‘The situation in maths highlights if you shine a torch on areas of concern then you can make a real difference.’
The maths hub was set up in Portsmouth to tackle difficulties with expert lead teachers in maths deployed to target schools in areas of high social deprivation and academic under-performance.
Seven primary schools are signed up to the mastery programme – preparing youngsters for secondary schools. They are Bramble Infant, Copnor Primary, Cottage Grove, Craneswater, Fernhurst, Mayfield and Milton Park schools.
The scheme is developing teachers’ delivering maths, and will be extended to reading and writing. More than 60 per cent of the city’s schools have been involved with the hub.
Deputy director for education Mike Stoneman said: ‘Maths is a positive story. Whilst we’re still below the national average we have considerably narrowed the gap.
‘Those schools who have engaged with our support have seen great improvements.’
Portsmouth pupils still lag five per cent below the national average.
Portsmouth’s 11-year-olds are below the national average for literacy with 66 per cent of pupils meeting the standard for reading, compared to 73 nationally. About 75 percent are at the expected level for writing compared to 78 nationally.