So just come back from a GCSE Maths session with the  GLOW Hub – Unfortunately for me it does not stand for Get Lots of Women but is the Gloucestershire Oxfordshire and Worcestershire Hub.

Check out more information here:

You can also follow on Twitter @GLOWMaths

One of the most interesting starters at a GCSE Event which I have been to as I think that most people have at least thought about or discussed the following questions:

Starter for 10

1) How will Year 6 SATs be graded from 2016?

2) Why is the current KS3 regarded as being a “transition” group?

3) What are the EBAC Subjects?

4) Which new 9-1 grade is equivalent to C?

5) Which current Year group will do all new 9-1 GCSEs?

6) Which of our A-Level subjects will not be reformed until first teaching in 2017?

7) What is Progress 8?

8) What are the headings for the new Ofsted judgements?

9) How will inspections of “Good” schools be different?

10) What are coasting schools?

I am sure (well hoping) that Mel @Just_Maths will post the answers to the above questions at some point – She is off to China (Hong Kong) for Half Term so perhaps a post when she gets back. Anyway, so I am over in Malvern




The aims are to work with successful established communities across the region AND to ensure pupils, teachers and leaders have access to support research and innovation that will improve the enjoyment and achievement of mathematics

I have been invited over by Mel Muldowney. I am not sure that I mentioned this week I have been on Half Term. (Well maybe I have mentioned just once or twice this week !!!)

Another “Great Opportunity” to network and after all, “Maths is Maths!!!”

As Mel tells us all, as a subject we are still facing increasing recruitment issues but we are doing “The best job in the world”.

We often forget how rewarding our day-to-day teaching is and sometimes it is so easy to forget. I think we should not only help others to remember that we have the best job in the world, but I encourage you to find like minded individuals to have fun with some of the maths content.

I thought Mel was about to break out into some High School Musical (We are all in this together –

For those of you that don’t know much about our Mel… she used to work at Trinity High School (13-18 mixed High) – over 25% EAL and 33% PPM. They were a designated National Challenge school but in 2013 were the Most Improved School in England. Seager (the other half/third of and Mel both moved to Alcester Academy. They are an Edexcel Hub. Mel is just so passionate about GCSE. She has a lot to offer both in her own classroom and department but she is a “Collaborator”. She is one for rolling up her sleeves and getting involved. I am all in favour of getting together and seeing what we can all do.

The agenda of the day looked a bit like this:

Short term       teaching

Medium          assessment / predictions / reporting

Long term       tier discussions / exam board

NEW GCSE Specifications / overview of changes

New topics

Both tiers



Omitted topics

Group discussion about possible implications for teaching



Maths is more than the way you teach and the resources you use. One question that we need to cover “How do I teach higher level content to foundation students?”

Grade 1-5 Foundation                                                             Grade 4-9 – allowable grade 3

Half Marks 1 to 3                                                                    Half Marks 4-6

Half Upper 3 to 5                                                                    Half 7-9

I think the interesting bit here is the allowable Grade 3 on the Higher Tier. I am not sure how this might affect some departments entry to the New GCSE. Remember that all of the papers may assess any content domains and all assessment objectives in roughly same proportions across all three papers

Foundation is not much more than being able to count and recall. Higher still has that AO1 objective – Using and Applying

Key things to note: Your students first attempt counts in the performance table. No double entry of GCSE Mathematics Allowed (JCQ) . November sessions for 16+ students only from 2017 (Ofqual)

Another key thing to note is that it doesn’t say we can’t enter them early – but it doesn’t say that we can !!

Mel is kindly going to share a LINK to the Exam Board SAMS with a Dropbox Link too.

We discussed what might be Omitted?

Won’t get draw a stem and leaf but will still get questions. Not a core skill.

The question was raised about Roman Numerals – although way down in KS1 is this something that they could possibly ask students.

We know at KS2 they are teaching the Calculation methods such as “Long multiplication” and “Long division”. But is this going to be what students are ‘expected’ to use in the exam ?? Will we still need to teach other methods ??.

Given that the language used as a coverall is “Solving problems in familiar / unfamiliar context” does this basically mean that anything can now be asked ??

Don’t look under the desk !!!

Marking and Feedback are important. Mel suggests that having a look at Students Primary books might help see how we can develop them as Mathematicians. I am going to go and request that our Feeder Primaries save the students Maths books this year. I want to see “What can they do !!”

Mel usually has loads of worksheets and weblinks. As a network she suggested that we take a topic and come back with ideas. Mel is a firm believer in “People that give up their time are people I trust”. I think if people are are prepared to do something in their own time and share what they have it helps everyone.

Teachers want their students to do well. We need to take the time to work together to share and not reinvent the wheel. Sometimes a fresh look at an old topic is good but with so many good (and bad) resources out there we need to point each other in the right direction.

Like my blue shoes.

Mel asked her students recently if they liked her blue shoes.

(note that they are in fact brown)

Mel explained to students that they proved her wrong by explaining the right answer.

There was then a discussion about how this relates to the new GCSE maths. If all else fails, work out the correct answer and use that.

A problem in deducing the correct answer may be that the students ask “What is deduce?”. At what point should we (as Maths Teachers) be introducing the literacy of exams – should we all start with literacy mats on tables.

Does this really help students ??

Can we anticipate every word that might be used from, Prove, Show that, etc. ??

Mel suggests that we are going to see a change from the exam boards from round to 3sf , round to 2dp to questions such as Is this an Overestimate / Underestimate – tell us why?

I’ve had a great day and as a question to go back and think about:

“What are my school doing to ensure the transition group is not lost ??”

My final thought to you all from GLOW 6 key words:

  • Participate as much as you can (but remember a work/life balance)
  • Research is good but you are in a classroom day-to-day – sometimes it works / sometimes not !!
  • Achieve the very best for your students EVERYDAY !!!
  • Innovate and share the very best ideas you have – even if you are not sure – SHARE !!!
  • Support your own departments but also others. You don’t know how much it means to have support !!!
  • Enjoy doing the VERY BEST job in the World.

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