Holyhead is an 11-18 academy in the top 10% of deprived areas nationally
To improve student achievement at GCSE and increase uptake at A Level by making Mathematics relevant and improving students’ resilience.
Although A*-C grades achieved in Mathematics was 73% (12% above the national average) the achievement of A*-A grades was 13.9% below the national average.
Additional Mathematics was offered as an option for students going into Key Stage 4. Students that selected the option were split it into two separate pathways. Orange pathway students were higher ability students, based on their Key Stage 2 attainment, and the purple pathway students were of middle ability. Both sets would complete the GCSE Statistics course but, in addition, the purple and orange pathway students completed Edexcel Algebra Level 2 and Level 3 courses respectively. At the end of each academic year test results were analysed within the cohort of students that had opted to study additional Mathematics against those that did not.
Student voice, test results
By the end of the second year 100% of students agreed that, by studying additional Mathematics, they had become more confident in Mathematics and 94% agreed that it had had a positive impact on their regular Mathematics lessons.
By the end of the third year a breakdown of the results within the cohort itself showed that for both orange pathway students, additional Maths and non-additional Maths students, there was very little difference at both grades 4+(0% difference) and 5+(+3%). The biggest change was at grades 7+ where there was a 31% difference in favour of the students who had selected additional Mathematics. The studying of algebra up to level 3 had significantly improved their ability at solving the more challenging problems. The purple pathway students who represented the middle ability students showed a big difference at grades 4+ (+26%), 5+ (+28%) and 7+ (+3%). The impact of studying GCSE Statistics and algebra level 2 had enabled these students to solve more challenging problems.
In conclusion the project has been a success although we will need to wait for the summer external exam results. Based on current and predicted data it shows that studying additional Mathematics does improve your GCSE Mathematics grade for both high and middle ability students. One of the major challenges has been offering the additional Mathematics as a subject option. If GCSE Statistics had not been approved to be used in school performance tables the project would not have been possible. We had to change early on from AQA level 2 Further Mathematics which was removed from the DFE approved list of subjects.
Jaspal Sarrah and Pascale Rollings, firstname.lastname@example.org