Preparing for A Level Summer School

Led by Rachel Finlayson

Nationally and locally we need more students to take, and be successful in A level Mathematics. Most students taking A level Mathematics have received a grade A or A* in GCSE Mathematics, with almost all of the rest having grade B. Historically, students with grade C or B can and do succeed in Mathematics A level but they will usually need additional support at the outset to ensure that they understand and can work with the ideas which they did not fully master at GCSE, especially in algebra. There is a large step up from GCSE Mathematics to that introduced at A level and a drop-out rate that we want to narrow by supporting more students to be confident in starting A level Mathematics.  

As more than 90% of students who take A level maths do not study a maths degree at university, we want to whet the students’ appetites in the application of mathematics, showing them that maths is exciting and the gap between GCSE and A level is not as wide as they might think, especially with the implementation of the new GCSE structure and content.

The summer holidays are a long time to not be exploring maths and it is easy to lose mathematical momentum before September, therefore making the gap seem wider.

We have grown our summer school model over the last two years and have received positive feedback from both students and their new post-16 teachers. Our summer school has been a collaboration in both creation and delivery, by teachers and schools across the hub region. We are hoping for a larger and even more successful third year and will be offering our model and resources to other maths hubs nationally.