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Schools counting on maths campaign to help children
CHILDREN struggling with maths could get extra help as part of a £500,000 initiative to improve the county’s numeracy levels.
Oxfordshire County Council’s education boss Melinda Tilley hopes to repeat the success of the Oxford Mail-backed reading campaign.
She is hoping to get final approval for a grant from the Schools Forum which oversees dedicated Government funding to schools for numeracy schemes.
It will work in a similar way to the reading campaign whereby teaching assistants and volunteers are trained to deliver the scheme.
Mrs Tilley, right, said: “Right at the beginning I decided Oxfordshire’s reading results were awful.
“I settled on the reading scheme as I thought that if they can’t do that, nothing else will follow.
“I didn’t expect it to be the phenomenal success it is, and I think it’s down to a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work.
“When we got the results I straight away said let’s start numeracy.”
She expects the scheme to work in a similar way to the reading campaign, which was open to all county primary schools. It’s an intervention programme, delivered by teaching assistants in schools and using the Project X Code books produced by Oxford University Press.
Volunteers will provide one-on-one tuition to struggling children.
Mrs Tilley hopes the scheme will start in January, but needs final approval of the full committee of the Schools Forum.
She doesn’t plan to sit back then. Next on her agenda will be to set up a similar science-based campaign.
She said: “I had a plan, literacy, then numeracy and then science.”
The best performing school so far in the reading campaign was Brookside Primary School, in Bicester, with an average reading age rise of nearly two years.
Deputy headteacher Lauren Murrey said the school was delighted by the progress its youngsters made in the reading campaign and would be interested in a similar maths scheme.
She added: “All of the children who have taken part in the Project X Code intervention have developed a love for reading and have become independent readers.
“We would be interested in being part of an intervention for maths similar to the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign in terms of the high-quality materials used and the support and training by the local authority.”
The Liberal Democrat spokesman for education at the county council John Howson welcomed the move. He said: “I am delighted that the county administration recognises that numeracy levels are as important as literacy levels.
“I hope that we can make Oxfordshire the best place for learning in the country.”
Earlier this year Oxford City Council announced plans to team up with the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University to launch a similar scheme to help improve literacy and numeracy of primary school children at 11 Oxford schools.
Launched in September 2011, the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, backed by the Oxford Mail, saw tremendous results at the end of the first year of the two-year scheme.
It was set up to address poor reading results in seven-year-olds at Key Stage 1, and to foster a lifelong love of reading.
A report by Edge Hill University showed the £585,000 reading campaign had improved the average reading age of participating primary schoolchildren by nearly two years in some cases.
To date, 54 schools have signed up to the scheme, with three more starting training in the autumn. More than 400 pupils have benefited so far.
Key Stage 1 – percentage achieving level 2+ Maths: Oxfordshire 91 per cent, (England national average 91 per cent)
Key Stage 2 – percentage achieving level 4+ Maths: Oxfordshire 86 per cent (England national average 84 per cent)
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