Fareham College has been successful in securing funding from the Department of Education to complete an action research project into how Maths is taught to those aged over 16 years. The College already leads one of only 21 Centres for Excellence in Maths in the UK, which supports improvements in teaching Maths in the post-16 sector.
The action research project, led by Fareham College, focuses on working with students who suffer with Maths anxiety and has already produced excellent results through improved attendance to lessons, participation, and better grades via a bespoke Maths Coaching programme.
When students were asked how confident they were in their Maths ability prior to taking part in the Maths coaching programme, almost a third of students gave a positive response, but after just six weeks of coaching this increased to almost 40% responding positively. When they were asked how they felt about Maths exams prior to undertaking the Maths coaching, almost 10% responded positively and after six weeks of coaching this has more than doubled to over 21%. When students were asked overall how they felt about the subject of Maths, just under one third of students responded positively and after six weeks of Maths coaching this has increased to well over 40% responding positively.
Working with six other colleges including, Highbury College, HSDC (Havant and South Downs College), Isle of Wight College, Southampton City College, Sparsholt College and St. Vincent’s College, Fareham College has replicated its successful Maths Coaching programme, and even created an online version of the programme, so that it could continue to be delivered during lockdown. Working with these colleges, the programme has reached over 500 students to help them to overcome their Maths anxiety.
Fareham College’s Head of English and Maths and Director of the Centre for Excellence in Maths, Rosie Sharp says, “We have seen a dramatic increase in Maths anxiety in students aged over 16 years in recent times resulting in poor attendance, poor participation in lessons and low grades. To be seen as not being good at Maths often means that students lack confidence and can achieve a grade less than what they are capable of. However, through this ground-breaking new Maths coaching programme, we have seen students’ confidence building and becoming more resilient, which then means they perform much better, opening up other areas of the curriculum to them.”