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Model School Primary School, Northland Rd, County Londonderry

Numeracy

At St. Columban’s College numeracy is firmly fixed as an on-going priority in our School Development Plan.  The pursuit of excellence is driven by the Principal and Senior Management, planned and coordinated by the Head of Maths, Numeracy Coordinator and SENCO, and implemented both as a specialist and cross-curricular discipline by virtually every teacher in the school. 

Teaching and Learning

Established and proven teaching strategies are continually revisited, evaluated and revised to reflect the needs of the pupils, current innovations in technological learning and the changing demands of the workplace.  The aim is to provide an enjoyable and challenging experience in numeracy for all our pupils through the achievement of understanding and the confidence that brings.  Successful strategies are disseminated from the Maths Department to every area of the curriculum by the sharing of good practise and regular staff training.

Pupil Focus

CAT scores and Progress in Maths results are used to identify the ability of pupils ranging from those with difficulties and in need of additional support, to others who are best served by a more challenging approach.

Numeracy support is integrated within the timetable and is available throughout KS3.  An after school class provides help for those working at GCSE level.  Effective interventions are in place to identify and plan for underachieving pupils.  Numeracy support in KS3 is implemented by the withdrawal of small groups for extra tuition, using individually targeted resources.

Innovative Management

The Principal and the Numeracy Coordinator have secured additional and significant funding from Extended Schools and the Public Health Agency for the promotion of numeracy throughout the school. When combined with our own budget, these monies are effectively used to provide the resources and expertise which will contribute to an enjoyable learning experience within the classroom and beyond.

The role of the Numeracy Coordinator

The Numeracy Coordinator is entrusted by the Principal and Governors to provide professional leadership and management, culminating in high quality teaching and learning, the effective use of resources and the raising of standards.  An action plan has been developed within the framework of the School Development Plan outlining targets and the actions taken to meet them.  

The Numeracy Coordinator liaises with other departmental leaders to develop a consistent and informed approach to teaching numeracy across the curriculum. 

As part of the Learning Support Team, the Numeracy Coordinator in collaboration with the Principal, the Literacy Coordinator and SENCO, identifies those pupils most in need of extra support, sets targets to aid their development, places them on a support programme, and provides the resources best suited to their needs.

Recent and Current Initiatives

1)  The Cross-Phase Partnership Plan

This project seeks to ease the trauma experienced by some pupils during the transition from primary to post-primary education.  It achieves this by forging closer links in several key areas.  During 2015/16, St Columban’s College joined with Ballymartin P.S and focused on Numeracy and Recreation.

Every Thursday morning, for a period of 12 weeks, approximately 30 KS2 pupils from Ballymartin P.S. arrived at the College to join with our Year 8 pupils for numeracy and P.E. classes.

Apart from the many benefits, this proved to be a very enjoyable experience for both pupils and staff.  We plan to continue this project and hope to extend it to other primary schools as and when it becomes logistically possible.

2)  Extended Schools

With the funding secured, we were able to employ the expertise of Transition Numeracy Consultant, Mr Timothy Doyle.  The purpose of this was to empower our parents with the knowledge, skills and confidence, allowing them to take a more active role in their child’s education.

On 4 consecutive Monday evenings a large number of parents from St Columban’s College and Ballymartin P.S. eagerly arrived to enjoy both the teaching and humour of Mr Doyle.  Now we all know how to subtract “the new way!”

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“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with the problem longer.”

Albert Einstein