Tuesday, 05 July 2022

Maths teacher who raised school’s attainment rate

Maths teacher who raised school’s attainment rate

A MATHS tutor who has raised her school’s grades by 20 per cent through tutoring small groups of pupils is to retire.

Rhuann Kaye, 59, has worked part-time at Langtree School in Woodcote since 2012.

She gives extra help to children who are just below meeting the target GCSE grade 4, which is equivalent to the old C grade, by taking them out of other lessons.

In 2012, 66 per cent of pupils achieved a C grade or above in maths.

In 2013, after Mrs Kaye’s first year, this had risen by 10 per cent and a year later the figure had gone up again to 87 per cent.

Since then the figure has remained above 80 per cent.

Mrs Kaye and her husband Phillip have lived in Goring for 30 years and they have two children who are now aged 29 and 27.

She graduated with a chemistry degree from the University of Oxford and spent four years working as a chemistry teacher.

She found the work overwhelming and felt she was not able to do enough to help every child without wearing herself out, so she left the job to work for the Inland Revenue in London. However, she didn’t stay there long.

Mrs Kaye explained: “My children were growing up and London felt too far away. I couldn’t do anything with quick notice and I wanted to go to their rugby matches and things like that, so I left the job.”

After three weeks she was bored, so decided to do some voluntary work at the former Huntercombe young offender institution in Nuffield.

Mrs Kaye said: “I had well-behaved teenagers myself but I knew they were very lucky and that a lot of those kids in prison weren’t so lucky. Most had been excluded from school, which leads to mixing with older children on the streets.

“I started volunteering there and did that for five years. I could see what a difference it makes when you’ve got someone one to one. Then it was turned into an adult prison and I wasn’t as interested in working with adults.

“I missed the kids, so I wrote to all the schools in the area and told them what I could do.”

Mark Vity, head of maths at Langtree, was the first person to respond.

He said: “We were pretty desperate for help so we got her in to assist in class and suss her out and quickly realised she was great.”

Mrs Kaye began taking small groups out of other lessons for maths tuition and became a part- time member of staff.

Mr Vity said: “At first, there was resistance as the children didn’t want to miss subjects, particularly PE, but now they’re excited and jealous if they don’t get to do it.

“That’s a testament to Rhuann’s work and how good she is. The pupils have benefited from all that experience she has and just from who she is in terms of forthrightness. She doesn’t take any nonsense but she’s also kind and forges amazing relationships with the children.”

Mrs Kaye said: “What’s different about a small group is that they don’t mess about. If one of them did the other three would give them a bollocking because they want to get on and learn.

“I use whiteboards and try to make it different from a lesson with books. Whiteboards are freeing because if they make a mistake you can just rub it off.

“I try to get them to be doing things rather than listening to me. I can see what each of them is doing and if one person hasn’t got it we go back a step and then go forward again.

“One year I did teach in a classroom because they couldn’t find a maths teacher and I found it completely different. I could see there were kids who didn’t get it but I couldn’t stop to help them and I found that really frustrating. They’re really positive and kind kids. One of the things you see in a group of four is maybe they aren’t friends at the start but they bond quickly and work as a team.”

The school is looking for a new maths intervention teacher to replace Mrs Kaye, working approximately six hours a week. You need to be flexible to work on different days of the week in different terms, so that the children do not miss too much of one subject.

Mrs Kaye said: “I hadn’t been in a classroom for years when I started. I find it very rewarding, much more than standing in front of a class.”

Mr Vity said: “We have amazingly well-behaved children here and when people come in for an interview they say they’re amazed that places like this still exist but it’s really difficult to get people through the door.”

Years 11 pupils Freja McGourty, Ella Hatt and Harry Roberts are among those receiving extra maths tuition from Mrs Kaye.

Freja said: “It’s good to be able to focus on topics in a small group. I feel less pressure than in class and able to ask questions.”

Ella said: “It’s so nice having a group of four because we know her so well, she’s so nice and we don’t feel any question is stupid.”

Harry said: “We’ve had her since year 10 so we know her well. She’s always happy to go above and beyond and explain things in a way everyone understands. She always has a trick of how to remember something.”

Mrs Kaye is leaving to spend more time with her husband, who retired last year.

For more information about the job, call the headteacher’s PA on (01491) 683382, email mtaylorlane
@langtreeschool.com or visit langtreeschool.com/vacancies

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