The Ted Wragg Trust was established in 2010 with the aim of creating an outstanding educational experience for all Exeter’s children.  Moria Marder, formerly headteacher of St James School, is Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, which has grown by 2017 from one school to a five school Multi Academy Trust (MAT) responsible for the education of over 3000 children aged 2-16 years.  The Trust works with both Exeter College and the University of Exeter as education partners.

Insight speaks to Moira Marder about how the Trust prioritises maths and focuses on developing students’ core skills.

The five schools that form the Trust are secondary schools, St James, Isca Academy, and West Exe, all-through campus Cranbrook, and large primary school Exwick Heights.  Currently all of the schools are graded as good with improvements identified in every school since they joined the Trust. 2016 exam results saw the secondary schools placed in the top 20% of all schools nationally for progress and in the top 15% for maths attainment.

Mathematics outcomes for Ted Wragg MAT schools have been consistently excellent. In 2015/16 Isca Academy and St James school were in the top five schools in Devon for progress and St James also for attainment. St James was also in the top 10% of schools nationally. Students of all ability perform well.

Moira said: “Our academies are driven by an absolute determination to improve life chances for every child no matter what their ability. Our academies are identified by inspirational leadership and rich learning experiences.

Since the inception of the Trust I can see more and more of our students achieving their very best and making aspirational life choices which is now allowing them to flourish in any context and as result I feel hugely proud to be the CEO of this values driven MAT.

Developing students’ core skills is the number one priority for all our schools. Ensuring that our students leave with outstanding literacy and numeracy skills will equip them with the skills to be successful at Exeter College. 

We have worked very hard to attract and then retain the very best maths teachers at all levels. We were one of the first Devon Trusts to appoint Maths Advanced Skills Teachers and now have five lead practitioners in maths working across our MAT. 

We prioritise maths across the curriculum and give students time to tackle mathematical topics in greater depth and develop their resilience. Our success is based on quality teaching first, excellent staff continual professional development, state of the art teaching facilities, no excuses for any student, and the innovative use of technology. One of our biggest successes has been the strong performance of white working class middle and low attaining students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

For several years we have been working with a local, innovative software company called Sparx to develop ground breaking technology that adapts itself to the individual learning style of each students.

Students use iPads to complete tasks, games, and quizzes that build on their learning. We can then analyse the results using the monitoring software. This data helps us to understand the unique way a student learns so that subsequent questions and activities can be tailored to improve a student’s understanding of each particular topic. The Sparx platform gives real-time data analysis to teachers so they can focus their attention on the students that need it the most. 

Working in partnership with such an innovative company, alongside our outstanding teachers, has transformed the way we teach maths. It is interesting, fun and challenging and because maths is such an important subject the success that students are experiencing here is helping to develop their confidence in other subjects.”

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