South Axholme bucks the trend in maths

South Axholme Academy, Epworth, has received a Good Ofsted. Pictured l-r Sarah Thompson, Principal, Harley Brydon, 16, Prefect, William Orton, 11, Luke Willerton, 16, Grace Durkin, 12 and Mrs. Hansen, Subject Leader Mathematics. Picture: Marie Caley NEPB 04-12-14 OFSTED MC 2
South Axholme Academy, Epworth, has received a Good Ofsted. Pictured l-r Sarah Thompson, Principal, Harley Brydon, 16, Prefect, William Orton, 11, Luke Willerton, 16, Grace Durkin, 12 and Mrs. Hansen, Subject Leader Mathematics. Picture: Marie Caley NEPB 04-12-14 OFSTED MC 2

It has all added up to a great term for staff and pupils at South Axholme Academy, where maths work has been given a big seal of approval.

Ofsted inspectors were impressed with what they saw when they spent two days observing 17 maths lessons within the school, as part of the subject survey inspection programme.

Their subsequent report found effectiveness, leadership and teaching of the subject to be good all-round, as the academy prepares to introduce A-level mathematics as a subject from September 2015.

Achievement for both girls and boys in the subject is good throughout the school, and ‘teachers plan well, building skills and knowledge very cleverly in order to develop understanding,” says the report.

Examples of ‘outstanding practice’ were noted, as was the ‘high quality support’ provided by the mathematics teaching assistant.

In a highly flattering log of the teaching, planning, checking and challenging that goes on within maths classes, the inspectors found little to criticise, The only areas for improvement were to ensure that students make maximum use of detailed written feedback given in their books, and for staff to increase the amount of outstanding teaching.

Delighted deputy principal Scott Barlow said: “These government subject surveys take place all around the country and are selected randomly.

“Our maths department has had good results year on year and we have always had many pupils going on to do A-level maths, with no gender gap at all, that bucks the national trend.

“We feel this Ofsted report validates what we already knew about the success of our maths department, with a fantastic outcome and a response that makes it clear we are very close to an outstanding judgement.”

He continued: “We look forward to teaching A-level maths from next year and already have several staff members who are trained to teach it at that level. Maths is one of our strongest subjects. The report is a reward for the hard work of our maths department.”

Of leadership and management within the subject at the academy, inspectors said: “The head of faculty is a very effective communicator and is moving mathematics forward at a lively pace.

“The teachers, all of whom are subject specialists, have a complementary set of skills and experience. Ideas and resources are shared freely.”

Support outside of lessons was praised, with lunchtime access to online learning packages and able mentors from years 10 and 11 helping younger students. Individual support for students is offered by teachers in other lunchtime sessions.

With a high pass rate in grades A* to C in maths at GCSE level, most able students are challenged well, claims the report. Work with disadvantaged students is beginning to pay off.