Informal Learning Spaces: WHS’s Maths Atrium

WHS Maths Department's Informal Learning Space

Nine years ago, when I first arrived at Wilmslow High School, one of the first major changes I experienced was a reorganisation of curriculum areas. Mathematics used to be stationed in two distinct areas, on the present upstairs English and MFL corridors. The new plan instead saw us move to a single area, taking over what was then MFL and History. As part of this move we therefore inherited the design feature affectionately known by students as ‘The Spit Pit’!

Fortunately for everybody this area was quickly transformed into what is now referred to as ‘The Maths Atrium’ which is our study area. This has evolved over several years into a professional space which acts as a focal point for learning and also as a place where a very real community has emerged with students readily seeking support from teachers and peers alike.

Although primarily we had envisaged that this space would most frequently be used by students taking up the offer of lunchtime support (as advertised in the school’s X-tra programme), students and particularly those at KS5, have taken ownership of the space and frequently base themselves in this area during free periods, knowing that they are able to ask any maths teacher for help as they are passing.

The area is stocked with past paper displays (which students are free to take down and use), relevant supporting textbooks and folders of mark-schemes, the latter of which are very well thumbed as students show their growing independence in preparing for external examinations. The area is bright and seeks to inspire students with displays of the mathematics residential and guides as to how to use specialist graphical calculators.

One extra benefit which has accompanied the evolution of this space is that older students are now regularly modelling fantastic study practice to our younger students. In terms of embedding the culture and ethos of hard work bringing success which we are striving for here at Wilmslow High School, nothing speaks louder than the actions of students at work and we are delighted that this is demonstrated effectively and often in this learning space.

Richard Edge

Curriculum Team Leader, Mathematics at Wilmslow High School

One thought on “Informal Learning Spaces: WHS’s Maths Atrium

  1. I fully endorse this. My son used this area to his great advantage during his time at WH. The maths department staff always chatted with him and helped him because he worked/revised there.

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