It's fair to say that 17 April 2015 was a very exciting day for the maths department at Kings Norton Girls’ School (KNGS); this was the day that we found out that we had been shortlisted for the TES Maths Team of the Year Award. The awards ceremony itself was an even more exciting day – this was when we found out that we had won.
We can honestly say that no other maths department in the country cheered, whooped and cartwheeled quite as much as we did during those months.
The maths department at KNGS strongly believes that everyone can be a mathematician and we have worked hard to make maths enjoyable and accessible for all. We are incredibly lucky to work in such an innovative department and to have fantastic students to work with. It was amazing to have our efforts recognised and rewarded. Events like this rarely happen in teaching and it was wonderful to be a part of it.
Our students and the rest of the staff at KNGS were as excited as we were. The trophy was taken on tour to meet each maths group; we made it onto Radio West Midlands, and Birmingham University Alumni magazine have also visited to interview us. It has helped us to raise the profile not only of KNGS but of maths and what it means to be a mathematician.
Since the award, teachers and students have continued to work hard and in August we were delighted to learn that the maths department had gained our best ever A-level results. We were ranked the first-highest A-level Point Score in a non-selective school in Birmingham. This year, we have a record number of girls applying to do maths at university.
We were also extremely proud to be chosen as a lead school for the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and the Maths Hub Shanghai Teacher exchange.
I have no doubt there are maths departments out there who are doing great things but are just not sure whether or not to enter the TES Awards: do it! You will not regret it – winning was incredible, but so was the whole experience from celebrating what we do, to picking up the trophy and beyond.
The deadline for entries for the TES Schools Awards 2016 has been extended to midnight on Sunday 13 March 2016. For a full list of categories and to enter, visit the awards website.
Elizabeth Bridgett is specialist leader of education - maths at Kings Norton Girls’ School