Project SUMS is pilot programme offering a free, drop-in-style, maths support service for Leaving Certificate students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas in Dublin. The project aims to improve access to maths support in local communities. Project SUMS was established by a UCD MSc Maths and Science Education student and UCD Business graduate, Rachel O’ Connor, in conjunction with the office of Senator Lynn Ruane, and provided weekly maths support for students in three Dublin locations. From September 2018, volunteer tutors were recruited, Garda vetted and provided with training for the project. Posters were printed and schools were contacted to provide students and teachers with information about Project SUMS.
In January 2019 the maths support sessions began every Tuesday from 6-8pm and ran weekly until the State Examinations in June. Any 5th or 6th year student was welcome to drop-in to the sessions, no pre-booking required. Students had the option to bring their own questions or to work on material provided by Project SUMS. Space for the sessions was generously donated by Tallaght Library, Trinity College Dublin and Macro Community Centre. Over 40 volunteer tutors took part in the project and came from a variety of backgrounds including maths teachers, student teachers, retired teachers and maths graduates. Many of the tutors are current UCD students studying Maths Education and Economics and Finance. The pilot project was popular with students and saw over 1000 visits from 5th and 6th years in its first six months. Feedback from students described how they felt more confident in maths after attending the sessions and liked the relaxed, friendly environment.
Project SUMS will continue again from January to May 2020. Interested volunteers with an interest in the Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate math curriculum can apply here.