School head moves to allay maths fears

A SUFFOLK headteacher defended his school last night following claims that students are being forced to get private tuition at home because of a lack of maths teachers.

A SUFFOLK headteacher defended his school last night following claims that students are being forced to get private tuition at home because of a lack of maths teachers.

Chris and Tracy Gittins, of College Green, Felixstowe, wrote to the East Anglian Daily Times concerned that a number of children from Deben High School are having to get extra help with the core subject.

However last night Terry Ring, headteacher at Deben, said while he acknowledged there was a shortage of maths teachers, they were working hard to minimise the affect on students' learning.

In their letter to the EADT Mr and Mrs Gittins, whose three children attend the high school, said: “All of our children have suffered from an absence of maths teachers that has led to them all requiring extra help at home in order to have any chance of passing maths.


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“Friends of ours have even had to resort to additional private tutoring.”

They claimed the situation had got so desperate a recent letter from the school referred parents to a number of maths websites so they could help to teach their children at home.

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“This seems a ridiculous situation for a school to be in, especially since the same letter offers no concrete information with regard to how the school will provide the quality of teaching we expect in such an important subject,” they added.

“It would appear Deben is unable to provide maths teachers to back-fill these places and so a significant number of pupils will be left with supply teachers who do not actually teach maths, leaving the children to work from books instead.”

But Mr Ring said over the last three years maths results at Deben had continued to improve and children had performed above expectations in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

“For such an important subject these absences cause perfectly understandable anxiety for both pupils and parents,” he said. “I have therefore written to the parents of the pupils affected and I am also speaking to pupils in their maths classes about this situation.

“We are continuing to maintain the children's maths lessons and they are making progress. We do not expect children to teach themselves or their parents to do it for us.

“Although, like other schools, we have found that the number of qualified maths teachers and maths supply teachers are limited, we are currently employing two supply teachers with these qualifications.

“I don't underestimate the challenge but am confident that as a school we will continue to do well by our pupils.”

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