Deepening the Learning of our GCSE Pupils

6th July 2016

Mrs Sharon Adams

Head of Maths

We are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve the numeracy skills of our pupils, the biggest stumbling block being the language that is used, particularly at GCSE level. We have adopted a far more mastery approach in our teaching, offering pupils the opportunity to deepen their understanding. We continually ask ‘why?’, ‘how do you know?’ and ‘can you explain?’ and always ensure that we use the correct mathematical terms, however complicated this may appear.

Our pupils are making real progress and I am delighted with the results however, most of them still lack confidence in their own ability. In an attempt to help this, we have made links with Ladock Church of England School, a local primary school. Earlier this year, I took our GCSE year 10 class to visit Ladock, they were set the challenge to teach basic number skills to a class involving nursery, reception and year 1 pupils. With guidance, they created their own mini lesson of about 15 minutes and practiced delivery with our nurture class. Initially at Ladock, pupils were intimidated and needed encouragement but as the sessions progressed, their confidence soared and the use of language improved. They left Ladock on a high and begged to visit again.

Ladock were keen to have us back and so we arranged another visit in June this year. This time the remit was slightly different; year 10 were asked to organise activities that were not so heavily number based. Again, they rose to the challenge and delivered experiences of ‘heavy’, ‘light’, the four seasons (not Vivaldi!) and adding numbers to 10. Two of the pupils also involved some signing as part of the activity. I was prepared for the previous reluctance but it didn’t appear! Year 10 walked into the class full of confidence and delivered their lessons without support; I was blown away. They were strengthening the knowledge of the class with their questioning and the Ladock pupils (some as young as 3) were engrossed in their learning.

Mrs Trotman, the class teacher, commented on how engaged the children were, which is a difficult thing to achieve with children of such a young age. Again, the year 10 class left Ladock 2 inches taller! The confidence they have gained is indescribable and they are already begging me to let them return next year!