Opportunity Area Launches Search for Top Times Tables Talent

AN ONLINE competition to test the Maths ‘metal’ of youngsters across Stoke-on-Trent primary schools has launched this week in celebration of Maths Week England.

The City-wide Top of the Rocks initiative is run by the Maths Excellence Partnership and funded by Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area to drive up engagement and raise standards in Key Stage 2 Maths. This year’s competition is running online using the Times Table Rockstars app.

Ceri Bedford from the Maths Excellence Partnership said: “We launched this competition in January last year with around 40 Year 4 pupils from 20 primary schools taking part in the city final.

“By moving online we have increased participation with Year 4 children in 40 schools ready to compete from 9am today. We expect to see a real flurry of activity in classrooms and at home where pupils can practice their times table knowledge and their ability to answer questions against the clock.”

Natalie Godwin, a Maths Specialist Leader of Education based at the Coop Academy, who helped to organise last year’s City finals of the competition at Port Vale Football Club, added: “This year the bar is set particularly high as last year’s winner from Stoke Minster primary school answered an incredible 60 questions in a minute on paper. We have some great prizes up for grabs and look forward to discovering our Year 4 Times Table talent.”

Launching today, the Top of the Rocks competition will run for a week to coincide with Maths Week England. There will be prizes for the top students in each school, the top 10 in the city and for the top five schools.

Emma Hawkes, an Assistant Headteacher and a Maths Specialist Leader of Education at Park Hall Academy, added, “The children have been asking everyday if the competition has started yet. Team spirit is high, and the children are determined to be at the top of the leaderboard.”

Another initiative, supported by the Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area, involves Year 6 students taking part in maths challenges sessions run in collaboration with the City’s secondary schools. These are also being run online via live or recorded sessions and St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy are intending to run their first session of the year this week focusing on special numbers to their cluster primary schools.

Ceri added: “It’s especially important that we are encouraging younger pupils to enjoy and feel confident in maths and these initiatives are a fun and engaging way to involve young people in understanding its importance and where it can take them.”

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