A homework club set up by Imperial College London is improving engagement and attainment in maths in the White City area.
Each weekly session of the programme is facilitated by Imperial student mentors who provide personalised support to ensure that each participant can engage with maths in a way that works for them. There is no fixed agenda to the club, but the students can bring along their homework or other things they would like help with.
We support the students in a sustained way and it’s inspiring to see. Dr Philip Ramsden Department of Mathematics
Additional support in maths homework was recently highlighted as a pressing priority by local schools. An understanding of the subject is vital for many career paths and for further study in a wide range of subjects, yet many young people find it hard to complete homework without support.
Kai, a year nine student who has been attending the homework club since the start, said that while he used to struggle with maths, attending the club has helped him during his lessons at school. Diana, a year ten student, said that attending the club has allowed her to progress at school, even moving up to the top set for maths.
The maths homework club was introduced in November 2018 for young people aged 13-16 from local schools, including Phoenix Academy, Westminster Academy and students from other schools supported by the charity Grenfell United. Young people were selected for the programme who demonstrated potential but who were struggling to engage with the subject.
Marco Corrao, a second year student in the Department of Bioengineering, has been part of the club since it launched. He said that the club gives the young people “time to think about the problem” they are working on in an interactive way. He added that he was also able to learn from the young people by revisiting key maths principles which are integral to his studies at Imperial.
Dr Philip Ramsden, Director of Cross-Curricular Mathematics Education in the Department of Mathematics also provides expert guidance at each session, supporting the tutors and overseeing the curriculum. He said: “The homework club is a really important part of what I do. We support the students in a sustained way and it’s inspiring to see.”
Additional help and support is provided by Imperial’s Outreach team. The pilot phase – which was generously funded by the Lujenna Educational Trust – was initially due to run for 15 weeks, from November until Easter, but was extended for a further nine sessions due to popular demand.
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