Back to Top


Posts from 2017-08-24

Analysing the 2017 GCSE papers alongside your GCSE maths results

We hope you are celebrating your GCSE results for 2017. It’s been a tricky year to say the least!  

We’ve been working on development materials based on this year’s GCSE papers.  Watch this space for ideas based on:

gcse maths results 2017

  • GCSE 2017 Overlap Question - We took some of the 2017 GCSE papers and identified the questions which appeared on both the foundation papers and the higher papers, i.e. the ‘overlap questions’. We copied them, sliced them into individual questions and worked with subject leaders to sort them in different ways…..
  • Assessing problem solving in GCSE 2017 – We used the ACME publication ‘Problem solving in mathematics: realising the vision through better assessment.’ To analyse some of the GCSE questions to see what elements of problem solving were included …..

In the meantime, you may be wondering about how your tier of entry decisions affected this year’s GCSE outcomes. We would strongly recommend that you look at this in detail, especially for the students you expected to gain grade 4 or grade 5. If you would like to set your own analysis alongside that of other schools, then you may wish to add to our GCSE tier of entry survey.


We are pulling together a picture of how the new papers and tiers appear to work for different prior learning groups. We have asked all the schools who contributed to part 1 of the survey to let us know their results by tier and by prior learning group.  We will do a speedy analysis and give swift feedback. 


It is not too late to take part. Follow this link and complete pages 1 to 4 to share your tier of entry choices and pages 5 and 6 which detail your results. 

Keen to know how your tier of entry decisions affects your GCSE maths outcomes?

Take our survey and we’ll let you know ……..  

We had a great response to our tier of entry survey which meant we could summarise a good-sized set of data and feedback the overall picture to contributors at the end of April. This helped the contributing schools to see if their choices for students were broadly the same as other schools. In some instances, this was not the case and we were able to help these schools see that the decisions they were making were ‘outliers’ when compared to the trend in school decisions for 2017 maths entry. We offered feedback like this chart.


gcse maths tier of entry

Of course, none of us really know what is the best decision because everything is new – content, challenge and pattern of papers.  Apparent outliers may have very good reasons for their different choices. It’s going to be interesting to see how tier for entry choices impact on outcomes for students. 


To try to get an early picture of how the new papers and tiers work for different prior learning groups we are following up our survey in late August/early September. We have asked all our contributors to let us know their results by tier and by prior learning group.  We will do a speedy analysis and swift feedback. 


It is not too late to take part. Follow this link and complete pages 1 to 4 now, you can pick up the link and complete pages 5 and 6 when you have the results in August. 

Mental Maths in Key Stage 1

We have developed some simple support to improve maths progression in KS1 mental skills and here are our top ten tips to bear in mind when planning for mental maths:

  1. Mental maths is at the heart of the KS1 curriculum
  2. Every day must provide lots of opportunities for mental maths
  3. From time to time, explicitly teach a new mental strategy
  4. Use representations and models to develop understanding 
  5. Provide opportunities to explore and practise any new strategy using hands-on learning
  6. Ask children to suggest calculations where the new strategy could be used
  7. Focus on mathematical language by clarifying and refining thinking through talk 
  8. Learning from mistakes is a positive stage, use it to build children’s confidence to ‘have a go’
  9. From time to time, offer a variety of examples where children need to choose ‘which strategy?’
  10. Ask children justify their choice and explain their method to the rest of the class