A consistent approach helps deliver the GCSE (9-1) Maths curriculum

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Name Abbey Park School    
Type Comprehensive School    
Location Swindon, Wiltshire    
Cohort GCSE Maths cohort size: 210  Cohort EAL: 7.3% Cohort SEN: 18.1%


Abbey Park School is a comprehensive school for pupils aged between 11 and 16 and has been a Pearson Maths collaborative hub since October 2016. The GCSE (9-1) maths curriculum was new territory for the school. Facing the unknown and the timescale to implement the revised curriculum were the school’s primary challenges.

John White - Abbey Park School

John White, Lead Practitioner for CEIAG and Mathematics, explains the steps the school took to successfully deliver the new curriculum.

We focused on progressing our students despite facing the unknown

The introduction of the new GCSE (9-1) was a big change for us. Not only were we facing the unknown but also only had limited time to implement the new curriculum and all the additional work that entailed. We made changes in how we structured our teaching and started the GCSE specification in Year 9. We then went even further by focusing on Years 7 and 8 to make sure they were ‘secondary ready’.

We used a number of resources to help us such as the Edexcel maths team, Just Maths and input from other colleagues to ensure we had as much information as possible. We also used sample assessment materials (SAMs) and practice papers to prepare the students.

Practice papers helped prepare students for the mocks and final exams

We used SAMs questions as extensions and homework to help prepare Year 10. With Year 11 students it all felt a bit rushed. We held a weekly practice paper club using the papers provided by Edexcel and had approximately 80 attendees. Students completed the paper at home and we then went through it after school. We focused on the process skills with the most able groups and concentrated on the way you get marks and not only on the answer. The main resources we used to prepare students were practice papers from Edexcel and mock and specimen papers. We also used other resources such as Just Maths, Corbett Maths and text books. The support we received from Edexcel was very good and we were very engaged with the exam board who provided us with useful material.

The students sat three mocks and received detailed feedback for each session. For only one of the mocks did we use all three papers, for the others we only used two. The practice paper club was integral in helping students prepare for the mocks and the final exams. Next year we are going to have a mock results day. When it came to exam time we entered more students for the Foundation paper than we would have done in the past but it was not dramatically different.

The outcome – we were delighted with our achievements

We felt the final assessments were fair. The 9-4 showed a substantial increase to 77% but our 9-5 was not so strong. However, we had six Grade 9s of which we are immensely proud. We have already started the curriculum earlier this year. We are also working together to ensure all colleagues are using a consistent approach to deliver the curriculum. The key to our successful delivery of the new curriculum was definitely practice paper club and great teachers.