Published: Tuesday, 24th April 2018
Students from seven secondary schools in west Norfolk attended a two-day PiXL conference focusing on English and maths on 19 and 20 March, at the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn.
PiXL (Partners in Excellence) is a not-for-profit partnership of over 1700 secondary schools, 600 sixth forms, and 500 primary schools. PiXL shares best practise to raise standards in schools, collaborates around leadership and resources, and organises regular conferences to share ideas.
Approximately 1400 students attended the four sessions of the PiXL conference. The students were given some top tips in how to tackle their Maths and English exams, and learned new ways to approach the questions. They also received a booklet to work through on the day, that can be used to plan revision and teaching.
The two sessions on the first day dealt with English literature, with experts from PiXL taking the students through how to unpick the exam questions, and track the ideas in the text. The second day focused on Maths, with sessions looking at geometry and algebra, and guidance on revision.
Feedback on the conference was very positive, with students reporting that they had enjoyed the sessions, as well as learning from them. One student from Smithdon High School credited the techniques she had learned with raising her result in an English Literature mock exam by two grades. The presenters from PiXL praised the "joined-up thinking" between the organisers, the West Norfolk Academies Trust and the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, and described the collaborative working as "groundbreaking".
John Hirst, from the West Norfolk Academies Trust, said; “West Norfolk is putting itself on the map educationally. Nowhere else in the county or country is there such collaboration between schools, trusts and local government. I am confident that all the students in west Norfolk will benefit from these events and that they become embedded as part of the educational landscape in west Norfolk.”
The PiXL conference was part of a series of events that the trust and the borough council worked together to organise. The events aim to prepare Year 11 students in this district for their upcoming GCSE exams, and for their futures beyond that. The series began with the West Norfolk University Challenge Conference (WNUCC18), held in February, where teams of talented students from seven schools worked in teams to solve Maths, English and Science problems. WNUCC18 was such a success it is now being planned for its third year, and became the foundation for more ambitious events across the area.
The final event in the series will be performances in April of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which many of the students will study as part of their English Literature GSCE. Andrew Pritchard, who works for the National Theatre and Anglia Ruskin University, has worked with the heads of English at Springwood High School and Marshland High School to produce a high quality and totally unique touring performance and resources, for all participating schools in west Norfolk.