Following a good rating in a recent Ofsted inspection, Bevendean Primary School is proving to be the beating heart of the community.
The staff were given just two days notice to prepare for an inspection on 17-18th January, after which Mathematics and English were singled out as areas of excellence.
Deputy head Paul Davis, who has been at Bevendean for seven years, said: “Our intention is to help the children develop self-esteem about maths in an inter-ability environment. We want our pupils to think of themselves as mathematicians.”
The subject had been an issue in the past, but Mr Davis attended a Primary Maths Specialist Teacher Programme where he got training needed to lead a peer-supported drive to develop skills and confidence in delivering a stimulating maths curriculum.
The success of this new focus was confirmed by Ofsted examiner Helen Howard, who said: “Quality of teaching in maths was a leading light of improvement for the school”.
Classroom teacher Kate Wallis will also take a similar course to Mr Davis in a bid to enhance maths skills in the school even further.
The school has recently revitalised ‘reading corners’ with £250 of new books and is tailoring them to pupils’ interests, including a ‘Top Gear’-themed reading corner complete with posters, a cardboard cut-out Stig and actual car seats to encourage older boys to get comfortable and to get reading.
Pupil literacy is further inspired in novel and exciting ways, such as the aptly named “Caught Reading” Scheme, where children receive a voucher if they are caught reading anywhere in the school.
Rylan Ide, Year 2, Alfie Chessell, Year 3, and Toni Gander, Year 6, said maths was their favourite subject. Jake Martinez, Year 6, said: I like solving maths problems and talking about it with my friends.”
Ruby Elwell, Year 3, likes making up her own stories in literacy class whereas Maisie Cook, Year 2, and Charlie Deletang-Burridge, Year 3, love science where they learn about how sound travels and get to make catapults.
Bevendean Primary School has a passionate approach about meeting children’s needs and nurturing their talents across all subjects, not just Maths and English.
Performing arts specialist Adele Bates attends one day a week to work with the children. She said: “Drama, art and music are a fantastic social tool for the children, it allows them to thrive”. Recent productions include a staged version of Roald Dahl’s ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ Bevendean has an active PTA which is currently trying to raise £30, 000 to redevelop part of the playground. There is also a ‘Superdads’ group, which actively engages male role models into the school ethos. Launch Pad, the school’s rebranded Hearing Support Facility, took part yesterday in a successful world record attempt called ‘Sign2Sing 2012’, where 130,000 participants nationwide sang and did sign language at the same time. 131 children and adults from Bevendean took part in the event which will enter Guinness Book of Records.