Medowie siblings excel in regional NSW maths competition

Newcastle Permanent Raymond Terrace’s Acting Branch Manager Katherine Griffiths presenting Kayla with her awards.


A PAIR of Medowie siblings have won District Awards in this year’s Newcastle Permanent Primary School Mathematics Competition.

Kayla Peisto, Wirreanda Public School, Medowie was an award winner in the Year 6 District Award, while brother Ethan Peisto was a winner in the Year 5 competition.

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Charlie Drew, who is in Year 6 at Newcastle East Public School, was the sole first place winner, scoring a perfect 100 percent.

He was one of 10,000 Year 5 and 6 students from 250 Central Coast, Hunter, mid North Coast, North Coast, Northern Rivers, Central West, and New England North West primary schools who sat the exam.

Henry Riddell from Newcastle Grammar and Amelia McCallum from Jewells Primary School came equal third out of all Year 5 students.

In total, 19 Hunter students received awards in the competition this year.

Three of the top seven students (first, second and third in both Year 6 and Year 5) hailed from the Hunter.

For the first time in its 41-year history, in response to COVID-19, the exam was held online. Students test their numeracy and problem-solving skills without help from calculators, rulers or other mathematical instruments.

First place winners receive a complimentary $250 Newcastle Permanent account, second place winners $150, and third place $100.

District Award winners receive $50.

Local branch managers presented other awards.

Newcastle Permanent’s Chief Customer and product officer James Cudmore said it was great to meet students in person to hear their aspirations for the future.

He thanked parents and teachers for their support in running the competition online this year.

“There was a lot of maths and science mentioned which is great to see because we know that’s important for the future,” Mr Cudmore said.

“Hearing those aspirations and interest in mathematics is why Newcastle Permanent runs the competition,” he said.

CEO Bernadette Inglis congratulated all entrants for challenging themselves and embracing the importance of mathematics in daily life.

“Numeracy skills are so important well beyond school, in fact, they’re life skills,” Ms Inglis said.

“Numeracy plays a part in getting a job, in managing your household budget and in buying your first home, not to mention the daily problems we solve using maths,” she said.

“Seeing our Hunter-based students perform at such a high level demonstrates the high number of talented young people we have within our younger generations.

Despite the challenges that lockdowns, restrictions and home schooling presented families, the resilience of our young people shone through.”

She said the Newcastle Permanent Primary School Mathematics Competition has been encouraging students to be enthusiastic about maths for more than 40 years and long may the focus on maths continue.

The Newcastle Permanent Primary School Mathematics Competition is the largest and longest running competition of its kind in Australia.

More than half a million students have participated since it started in 1981.
Are you smarter than a primary school kid?

Check your knowledge against questions from this year’s exam.

Remember, no calculators, rulers or other instruments.

Q. One ice-cream costs $4.50. How much for 7 ice-creams?

(A) $32.50 (B) $31.50 (C) $29.05 (D) $28.00

Q. After spending 0.6 of her money, Melissa has $20 left. How much has she spent?

(A) $8 (B) $12 (C) $30 (D) $50

Q A triangle has one angle of 60°. We know that one of the other angles is 4 times the size of the third angle. The triangle is:

(A) obtuse angled (B) equilateral (C) isosceles (D) right angled.


Newcastle Permanent Raymond Terrace’s Acting Branch Manager Katherine Griffiths presenting Ethan with his award.

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