On Friday 5th December, Weald School students James Brew and Thomas Paling travelled to Manchester to present at the SSAT (Specialist Schools and Academies Trust) National Conference.
James and Thomas have been involved in a peer mentoring scheme which involves Year 7 and 8 students tutoring Year 6 pupils in maths.
James Brew said: “‘It was very exciting and we felt proud to be chosen to explain maths leadership to other schools in the country. We had a very early start (5.00 am train!) which was a strange start to a school day but gave us time to think about the conference and read through our speeches.
“We gave our presentations and received some excellent feedback from other school teachers on the concept of maths leadership. We came home very tired, but with the hope that maths leadership will be extended to some other schools in the country, which will benefit primary school pupils to improve their maths skills and grades.”
Thomas said: “It was an amazing experience to contribute to such a brilliant presentation/conference. It was very exciting and we felt proud to be chosen to explain maths leadership to other schools in the country. Even though it was long hours it was worth it and we have also come back with many new ideas for the school.”
The scheme on which James and Thomas presented involves Weald school students returning to their old primary schools one afternoon a week after school to tutor Year 6 pupils in maths.
Weald students can work towards a bronze, silver or gold leadership award, with bronze leaders delivering the tutoring, silver leaders preparing and delivering sessions and gold leaders overseeing the work of the bronze and silver students.
Not only does the scheme help the Weald students to develop their leadership skills, but also their maths skills in revisiting concepts and understanding them to such an extent that they can explain it to their peers. For Year 6 pupils, it is a chance to help improve their understanding of maths and practise their maths skills as well as aiding the transition to secondary school by working with Weald students.
This year, Weald students are also returning to primary schools to help the Year 5s with their literacy work and schools in Hampshire and Kent are looking to implement the scheme in their areas.
Ms Furse, Assistant Headteacher, said: “We are fortunate to have such a close relationship with the primary schools in our area. Any opportunities that we can provide to foster links between the primary schools and the Weald means that pupils feel more at ease and already part of the school when they join us in Year 7.”
Report and pictures contributed by The Weald School.