Henry Stevenson at Weydon School, Farnham has been running a project looking at increasing the participation levels of Post-16 students in Level 3 Maths courses. This Maths Hub project has one broad aim of increasing participation levels of post-16 students in A Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and other level 3 courses, such as Core Maths.

Participation Rates

The project initially looked into studying habits of students in Surrey Plus region. We found that the percentage of students studying Maths and Further Maths in the Surrey Plus region is in line with the national picture, with a slight increase in uptake between 2013 and 2014 (table below):

Maths Further Maths
Surrey Plus England Surrey Plus England
2013 29% 28% 5% 5%
2014 31% 28% 5% 5%

However, hidden by these numbers is the fact that the number of girls pursuing post 16 maths courses is significantly outweighed by the number of boys; and relatively very few girls take on Further Maths as an A-level option.

Factors influencing progression to A-level mathematics

Having spoken with several post-16 providers, it became clear that there are several factors which influence student progression to A-level mathematics

  • High quality teaching throughout the secondary phase
  • Clearly demonstrated enthusiasm and passion for mathematics
  • Professional planning and managing of the several elements between them that make for effective teaching and learning of mathematics
  • High expectations of pupils’ learning of mathematics
  • Effective monitoring and assessment regimes
  • A positive whole school attitude towards maths as a subject
  • Good interpersonal teacher-student relationships
  • Career events
  • Transition projects and Summer Schools

In summary

One of the repeating themes that comes out of this, is that many Sixth Form colleges do not feel as though they have the Picture1power to influence participation, and 11-16 providers do not see A-level uptake as a concern.  Addressing this gap has been difficult.  However, the research tells us that the two key factors to increasing participation levels are student enrichment, and teacher PD.  It seems simple enough:  If the students have a positive learning experience during KS3 and KS4, and if the quality of teaching is high, the students will want to pursue mathematics at college.  These two features are being addressed through the TeachMeets, Secondary Maths Networks, Enrichment events and CPD that we are facilitating.

Strategies for raising participation

Below are some tried and tested strategies for increasing participation that schools and colleges have found successful:

  • Student enrichment events at KS4 currently available from the Surrey Plus Hub
  • Mentoring links between Year 12 pupils and Year 11 pupils
  • Sixth Form Taster days
  • Prospectus used to promote importance of Maths to parents
  • CPD to develop teaching and learning


All hubs are collaborating closely with locally based colleagues working for both the Further Mathematics Support Programme and the Core Maths Support Programme.

Further Maths Support Programme

FMSP Coordinators work with schools and colleges to support and promote the study of AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. They also provide training opportunities and support to teachers of AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics and KS4 Higher Tier Mathematics. They are currently supporting teachers in preparation for the impending changes to the A level Mathematics specification.

Core Maths Support Programme

To encourage students to continue with Maths after GCSE, there is an additional option. Core Maths is a new course for those who want to keep up their valuable maths skills but are not planning to take AS or A-level maths. Core Maths aims to increase student confidence in using maths , and to be better equipped for the mathematical demands of other courses, higher education, employment and life. At the end of the two-year course, students will come out with a level 3 qualification– similar to an AS and recognised in UCAS points.  The qualification is assessed by a final examination; some courses also offer the option of submitting a portfolio of coursework. To find out more go to: http://www.core-maths.org

Research links

If you are interested in further investigating participation at post 16, the links below are recommended by the NCETM.

Widening Participation Report: A Summary

Factors Influencing Progression to A-level Mathematics

Shelley Tolley at Pyrford C of E Primary School has released the Daily Homework tasks she has written to date for Year 1. These are available via this link: Year 1 Daily Homework Tasks. The folder will be updated as new tasks are written.

At the beginning of each week, children are given a worksheet with ideas for games they can play online to support their learning in maths. There are also ideas for useful practical activities for the children to complete daily. Most of the worksheets have a space for parents comments and are returned to schools the following Monday.

Feel free to use and amend as you need for your classes!



Surrey plus maths hub logo_square

Since 2014, The NCETM and Maths Hubs have been working together to develop approaches to teaching for mastery within primary mathematics. This has been partly informed by the teaching of mathematics in high performing South East Asian jurisdictions. In 2015, the NCETM and Maths Hubs recruited 140 teachers (4 per Maths Hub) to participate in a Mastery Specialists development programme. During this academic year, the teachers have been developing teaching for mastery approaches in their own school as well as working with interested schools through pilot Teacher Research Groups (TRG).


classroom 1Teaching for Mastery Work Groups

In 2016-17, all Maths Hubs will be running 4 primary mathematics Teaching for Mastery Work Groups. Each Work Group will be led by one of the current Maths Hub’s Mastery Specialists and involve six primary schools. During the year, they will work closely together to introduce and develop approaches to teaching for mastery.

We are now seeking to recruit 24 schools across the Surrey Plus Maths Hub region to participate in this important project.

This project is an exciting opportunity to develop Teaching for Mastery in your school and as such, the teachers involved will require a minimum of 10 days (per pair) release time.

There is no charge for participating in this work group, and a generous grant of £1000 will be given to each participating school to help subsidise teacher release time.

What is involved?

The Work Group activity will include:

  • Each school identifying two teachers to lead developments within their school.
  • The two teachers working together with the Mastery Specialist and teachers from the other Work Group schools in half-termly TRG meetings and through an online community.
  • Each school receiving a termly support visit from the Mastery Specialist to observe teaching, support in-school TRGs, and work with the lead teachers and head teacher.
  • The head teacher working with the Maths Hub’s leadership and other Work Group school head teachers to develop whole school policies and structures to support teaching for mastery.
  • The lead teachers, supported by the head teacher, working with colleagues to develop teaching for mastery approaches in the classroom, supported by professional development activity including Teacher Research Group methods.

Commitment of the School

Schools chosen to participate in the Work Group commit to the following expectations:

  • The lead teachers will participate in the half-termly, cross-school Work Group meetings with the Mastery Specialist (half-days) and contribute to the online community.
  • The lead teachers will receive a minimum of 10 (combined) days release time for development work including the above meetings.
  • The head teacher will meet with the Mastery Specialist and the Maths Hub’s leadership as well as working with the other Work Group school head teachers.
  • The school will seek to introduce teaching for mastery approaches across the school and establish TRG professional development models to support teacher development.
  • The school will provide any reports required by the Maths Hub and participate in any evaluation processes required.

Commitment of the Two Teachersclassroom 3

  • Be able to attend 6 separate half-day TRGs, once per half term.
  • Be full-time (or nearly full-time) class teachers.
  • Have strong and secure subject and pedagogical knowledge.
  • Have good experience of teaching Primary Mathematics.
  • Be prepared to change their pedagogy and practice based on lessons learnt.
  • Be enthusiastic and motivated.
  • Have some experience of leading CPD within their school.
  • Be willing to work collaboratively with colleagues from other schools.
  • Be prepared to disseminate ideas and strategies to colleagues at their school.

Benefits for your school and staff

Participating in the Work Group will provide the following benefits:

  • Teachers will gain a stronger understanding of the principals of Teaching for Mastery.
  • High quality support for teacher professional development for the lead teachers, facilitated by the Mastery Specialists.
  • Support for the head teacher in addressing leadership issues related to teaching for mastery from the Mastery Specialist and the Maths Hub’s leadership.
  • Opportunity to work closely with other teachers and schools also develop- ing Teaching for Mastery.
  • No charge for participation and a grant of £1000 to help subsidise teacher release time.

Who can apply?

The Work Groups are intended for schools that are already committed to using Teaching for Mastery approaches for primary mathematics. Schools should also have the capacity for engaging in significant development work during 2016-17.

Schools that have already begun to engage with teaching for mastery are more likely to be prioritised by the Maths Hub.

Next Steps? How to get involved

Schools interested in applying to be part of a Work Group in 2016-17 should complete the application form attached and submit to your Maths Hub by Wednesday 8th June.

The Maths Hub will then make contact with you with more details about the selection process.


You can download this information here – Full details TRG Schools 2016-17

You can download the application form here – Teaching for Mastery Work Group Application 2016-17