‘Mathematics challenges give girls self-confidence’ says Portsmouth High School’s Head of Mathematics

On Tuesday 15th March, Portsmouth High School hosted eleven local primary and junior schools for a Mathematics Challenge Day. The day was led by Portsmouth High School’s Head of Mathematics, Mr Paul Goldbrum, plus other members of the mathematics department.

The schools taking part were: Alverstoke Church of England Junior School, Fernhurst Junior School, Hook-with-Warsash C of E Academy, Langstone Junior School,  Mengham Junior School, Meon Junior School, Mill Rythe Junior School, Northern Parade, Portsmouth High Junior School, St Alban’s Primary School and Wimborne Junior School.

The girls from Years 5 and 6 were faced with some stretching mathematics challenges covering numeracy and shape and space activities including group rounds where they had to collaboratively answer questions and relay rounds where basic algebra was required.

‘This is the fourth year we have run the event’ said Mr Goldbrum. ‘It is particularly important for girls to apply their problem solving and mathematical skills in a fun and friendly competition.  This gives them the self-confidence and opportunities to prove that they can problem solve and encourages the girls to consider careers involving subjects such as engineering, in the future.’

‘It is so exciting when you get the right answers,’ said Josie Tanner, from Wimborne Junior School about the relay round. ‘I have loved the combination of PE, maths and even the creative parts where we had to design mirror images.’

‘I didn’t really like maths before,’ said Caitlin Bitri, from Meon Junior School.  ‘A day like today has really boosted my confidence and I like maths much more now.’

Mr Richard Baker-Jones a Governor from Alverstoke Church of England Junior School, who accompanied the girls, said: ‘Maths and science for girls is a high priority for us and a day like today is so important to boost their skills and confidence.  The pace of the challenges has been excellent and has kept the girls motivated.’

The day finished with a mathematics road show with a selection of puzzles involving shape, space and logic questions.

The winning team was Meon Junior School who were presented with winners certificates by the Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott.