Bonnie Powell, aspirations leader at The Bicester School, explains how inviting a group of sixth-formers to run a workshop has given her school’s able maths students new inspiration.

As part of the raising aspirations agenda at The Bicester School, this year we arranged a maths workshop session for more able Year 11 students. We wanted to deliver something different from their usual classroom experience, and inspire them to consider maths at a higher level.

At an initial link meeting with The Royal Latin School in Buckinghamshire, we decided we wanted something that would have minimal disruption to daily schedules, benefit both schools and be easily set up. With this in mind, we came up with a plan to use A-level maths students to run a workshop-style session.

We hoped this would broaden the experience of the sixth-form students, which would be beneficial when applying for university or work experience, as well as allowing the younger students to be led and inspired by people they could relate to. Role models just a little older than themselves on the next rung of the educational ladder seemed a good idea!

The workshop was a success for our students, many of whom engaged in conversations about their love of maths and the potential to study challenging topics at A-level. We were certainly impressed by the delivery of the session and the sixth-formers were excellent role models, as we had hoped.

Having a contact at another school was an important factor in this set-up, and the relationship forged through this workshop is one that we plan to expand and build on – both in maths and other subjects.

For other schools considering doing something like this, my recommendation would be to select a mutually agreeable date as early as possible, plan from there, and keep things simple. I really feel this is a format that could be replicated in any subject area by any school.

Art teacher Bonnie Powell is aspirations leader at NACE member The Bicester School, where she’s previously worked as a lead practitioner in the teaching and learning team. She loves teaching, and using creativity to develop ideas and strategies for raising the aspirations of young people.

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Friday, April 7, 2017