On Tuesday 12th July, Northgate played host to pupils from Toftwood Junior, Garvestone Primary, Thomas Bullock, Dereham Church of England Junior Academy and Scarning Primary for a Primary Maths Challenge. It was the first time since 2019 that the event was able to go ahead, so it was great to have some enthusiastic and competitive mathematicians, ready to take on the challenge. Teams were made up of 4 Year 5 pupils who faced 3 rounds of competition before the winners were announced.

As pupils arrived they started on the warm-up questions to get their brains in gear ready for the competition. Mrs Smith, Head of Maths, welcomed everyone and explained the plan for the morning before handing over to Miss Theobald for instructions of the first round. This was the Group Round – pupils faced 10 problems in 30 minutes and could choose their strategy – all work on the same question at once or split the team to tackle more questions at a time. There were some tough questions here that made pupils think and dig deep into their mathematical knowledge. It was great to hear the conversations and discussions about the questions. There was some excellent team work on display and good mathematical language being used. 

Next up Mrs Smith introduced the Logic Round – 50 points were up for grabs here. Information about 5 families was given and pupils had to sort this and identify where information went in a grid. This was a popular round and a successful one for a number of the teams who scored full marks. Then it was time for a quick break and a chance to re-group and get ready for the final round. The scores were close so it was all to play for. At this point, in 3rd place was Toftwood, 2nd place was Dereham Juniors and 1st place was Thomas Bullock.

The final round was the Relay Round – pupils were split into pairs within their teams and sat in different part of the room. Teachers were at the head of the room. Pair A had to run to the teacher to get their question – they had two chances to answer it correctly, running back to the teacher to check. If it was correct they were given the next question for pair B and had to take it to them. This continued with both pairs facing up to 10 questions each in the allotted time. This round was very frantic with pairs running to and fro, checking their answers and gaining those valuable points. It was clear for most that this was their favourite round – there was lots of encouragement and cheering of team mates.

Year 8 Maths Ambassadors, Kyra, Mia and Keisha, who had been helping with the proceedings and marking the rounds throughout the morning, gathered the final answer sheets and scores were checked. Before the results were revealed, there was a fiercely competitive game of fizz buzz, with Holly from Toftwood Juniors being the ultimate champion! Mrs Smith then had the great pleasure to announce the results. In joint 2nd place – Thomas Bullock and Toftwood Junior and then it came to announce the winner. Just 4 points ahead and winners of the Northgate Primary Team Maths Challenge – Dereham Church of England Junior Academy. A jubilant team received their medals and trophy and posed for a winner’s photo.


Miss Theobald and Mrs Smith said of the day, ‘It was great to have pupils from our local primary schools back at Northgate to take part in the Primary Team Maths Challenge. All the teams impressed us with their confidence and determination throughout the rounds. We look forward to welcoming them back to Northgate’s open evening in September.’

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the event a huge success, to the primary school teachers, pupils, Maths ambassadors, Mr Logan, Mr MacDonald and Mr Lound for chauffeuring students to and from Northgate, Mr Lane for setting up the sportshall and Alan in Café North for the yummy snacks!