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Advice from maths teachers re Further Maths GCSE and pupil suitability please.

(36 Posts)
P3onyPenny Mon 18-Jun-18 19:31:16

I have children in top maths sets in year 9 at a grammar school. One was level 6 in Sats,the other 5. Both have been in top sets at GS since year 7, always getting A+ .One went down to set 2 but the set 2 is allegedly covering the same as set 1 and they are getting very similar marks,set 2 kid actually scoring higher at times in same exams.

They have all been told that next year only set 1 will do further maths at GCSE and there will only be 1 top set with 4 very high groups(2x set 1,2x set 2)vying for places.

Both kids want to do Maths Alevel. Is Further Maths a good bridge to Alevel and does it give an advantage?

I will of course take on board the school's advice if they think either kid isn't up to Further Maths but wouldn't one think most of those kids would be capable of it? I am suspicious limiting it to 30 is down to timetabling,lack of resources/staff etc. I could well be wrong though. Would you query it at school,point out that there should be provision for more to do it or just button my lip and assume that it's really tricky and only a few would be capable of it?grin

lljkk Mon 18-Jun-18 19:46:41

There is a national shortage of math teachers so resource limits is very likely.

It may be relevant to say that DD is doing FM GCSEs this week mostly self-learning out of a book, only some scheduled sessions with a teacher.

marialuisa Mon 18-Jun-18 20:41:33

This might be useful. They run twilight sessions.furthermaths.org.uk

noblegiraffe Mon 18-Jun-18 20:47:41

Don’t know, Further Maths is changing and current Y10 will be the last to sit the current syllabus. The new one will be first sat in 2020 and as far as I know it’s pretty much the same syllabus but will be graded 9-1 so no more A^, I don’t know how the exam papers compare.

Loads of schools have stopped offering it because of the increase in content in GCSE meaning there’s not enough time to cover it, and because aiming for a grade 9 offers more challenge than previously available.

It’s a nice qualification but I wouldn’t be pushing it on set 2s any more.

P3onyPenny Tue 19-Jun-18 07:47:28

So do you not think working towards and on target for a 9 at GCSE would make even set 2/ lower set 1 candidates suitable?

That said would solely focusing on actually getting said 9 in the GCSE be prudent and enough prep for Alevel or is there overlap? I'm guessing if many are dropping it they wouldn't be disadvantaged? Also is some advantage to be had in freeing up the extra maths time for other weighty subjects?

lljkk Tue 19-Jun-18 08:08:49

DD just went to her exam so I can't ask about overlap... when we went thru the book it seemed like 20% overlap with material she'd seen before (not counting things like basic numeracy). I'm surprised they are predicting 9s for kids still only in yr9. Presumably a lot of material hasn't been presented to them yet, how can anyone know if they'll find it as easy as the previous material.

sandybayley Tue 19-Jun-18 08:29:39

@noblegiraffe is the expert here but like @lljkk DS1 has just gone off to a maths exam (Ad Maths not FM).

I wouldn't underestimate how much GCSE maths has changed - it's a lot harder. It's a bit early to be predicting 9s in Year 9 when we really don't know how things will pan out this year.

DS1's school (v selective independent) are generally saying 8/9 rather than being specific. The top 3 sets (of 8) do Ad Maths and it's taught in lessons as they covered the GCSE curriculum early.

I wouldn't rush to push for your 2nd DC to do FM. I think most schools know what they're going when they make these recommendations and the trend seems to be fewer exams taken to ensure better marks.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 09:36:33

I’d be very surprised if a student with level 5 at KS2 was targeted at grade 9. From what I can see, FFT are targeting mid-high level 6 at grade 9, level 5s would be 7-8. Do you know how many 9s the school got in maths last year?

There could be a case for your set 2 Y10 doing FM, I’m teaching it to a class of 8/9s, but we’ve dropped it for the 7/8s as maximising GCSE grade is the priority.

P3onyPenny Tue 19-Jun-18 13:04:35

8 in a classshockTo be fair we had a chart explaining new levels in relation to current grades with projected expectations if they continue working at the same level iykwim so there is an element of our presumption using said chart. Not sure what the expectations would be then if they're both continuously getting A+. It's so confusing.confused Kid 2 has done really well this year, may well have overtaken the other one. It's a selective school with quite a strong year as regards maths this year I think.Obviously we wouldn't question the expertise at school re capability but do think the provision should be there for all who are capable. That said if it isn't possible it isn't possible.Would an 8 or 9 maths gcse suffice in the long run for those that want to do maths A levels, sciency/maths heavy degrees further down the line? My dad did similar and seemed to have several different maths o'levels. He was a bit hmm that FM wasn't a given and they'd only have maths GCSE.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 13:53:17

An A* at maths has always sufficed for maths A-level!
A lot of FM content is now in GCSE, functions, more coordinate geometry, more ratio, more algebra. It’s supposed to be better preparation for A-level than the old GCSE although time will tell.

Take any flight paths predicting 9s from Y9 with a pinch of salt, there’s no where near enough data for that sort of thing. Giving a kid an A+ in Y9 seems fairly meaningless tbh - not a GCSE grade on either scale from what I can see?
Asking the school how many 9s they got last year in each set would be a better guide.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 19-Jun-18 14:20:46

I wouldn't be bothered OP, it's just unecessary extra work. DD is predicted 8/9 in maths and has the choice whether or not to do FM. Although she intends to do A level maths she's going to give it a miss.

I had a long chat with the HofMaths and the FM paper her school sits isn't even all of Core 1 for A level. To put that in context, because like most of us I was clueless until DS1 sat the course, A level maths is made up of core 1,2,3 & 4, and then there are 2 other modules from a selection. I.E. a total of 6 modules/papers. The advantage of sitting FM will be that you will already have covered part of one of those 6 modules.

Its a lot of work for not much advantage in a year when they have to juggle a lot of subjects. I can appreciate that for the very mathsy it's a nice challenge but it isn't necessary. And it will leave lots of spare time for analysing poems.

KittyMcKitty Tue 19-Jun-18 15:44:50

My children’s grammar school only enter set 1 (out of 5) for Further Maths. Last year 30% of the whole cohort was awarded a Grade 9.

P3onyPenny Tue 19-Jun-18 16:05:39

Thanks Cake I'm clueless too. grinThat really does put it in context and is most reassuring.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 17:30:13

unecessary extra work

angry It’s extra maths and maths is cool 😎

It’s a lovely qualification (dare I say it the papers are fun) and while I think that the need to do it to bridge the gap to A-level is lessened, it’s still nice for the really able students to get their teeth into something slightly different.

lljkk Tue 19-Jun-18 19:57:20

Finally home from work... DD says that the overlap betw. reg. math & FM is about 70%. BUT, "overlap" means same concepts/methods but always at much higher level, so only sort of an overlap. You need to be very competent at the regular math to handle the FM material; lots more of same but much harder problems.

The other 30% she reckons is genuinely different concepts (while still being math).

Fdback from today's exam (first of 2) is that most of them found it very challenging.

Peaseblossom22 Tue 19-Jun-18 21:16:13

What is the difference between the FM GCSE and The OCR Add maths ?Can anyone enlighten me ?

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 21:25:13

Further maths is a level 2 GCSE qualification and Additional Maths is a level 3 qualification that has some UCAS points (not many!).

Peaseblossom22 Tue 19-Jun-18 21:38:02

thank you Noble .Ds did the Add maths paper today. He is very able but it was definitely a baptism of fire. He has really enjoyed the topics but said he found the paper difficult , he is hoping to do A level though so hopefully it will stand him in good stead.TBH he only has one exam left now on Thursday but I would cheerfully have let this one go.

Stickerrocks Tue 19-Jun-18 22:26:45

DD took the FMSQ Add Maths paper today. She found the actual exam much harder than expected, but they have only had an extra hour each week after school In a bog standard comp. She will be taking A level maths, but she "only" needs a grade 7 in the standard GCSE to take it.

Don't forget that grades 7, 8 & 9 equate to the old A & A* and they won't be giving out grade 9s at the same rate as they gave out A*s, typically only awarding them to 2-3%. Many schools are refusing to predict grade 9s, as there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to who will get them for any subject. Hopefully things will have settled down by the time your year 9s get there.

BackforGood Tue 19-Jun-18 22:38:59

Fdback from today's exam (first of 2) is that most of them found it very challenging.
DD took the FMSQ Add Maths paper today. She found the actual exam much harder than expected

That's comforting to hear, as dd said it was hard grin
That said, like Stickerrocks' dd, my dd only has one lesson a week, after school for FM, in a comp.

<Wonders if it is the same school hmm >

SnookieSnooks Tue 19-Jun-18 22:39:30

@noblegiraffe my DD was a Level 5 at KS2 Sats. She sat her first further maths GCSE paper yesterday. She is predicted 8/9 in GCSE maths.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Jun-18 22:53:02

Yep, I’ve got a few level 5s in my group that are probably headed for 8/9. But they are not targeted at a 9.

OddBoots Tue 19-Jun-18 22:56:20

I am not a maths teacher but my son was an able mathematician not offered further or additional maths at GCSE as the school doesn't offer them. Instead he self taught the Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Award in Algebra as the school had nothing to lose in entering him as it is not going on the league table and as it is pass or fail not graded it wouldn't harm his UCAS form as he could have left it off if he failed.

As it was he got a good pass and he found it was a great foundation (alongside his maths GCSE) for A level Maths and Further Maths in which he also got good passes, he has also now finished the first year of his maths and computer science degree.

SnookieSnooks Tue 19-Jun-18 22:56:55

@BackforGood my DD also the same - 1 hour a week for FM after school and in a comp

ScrubTheDecks Thu 21-Jun-18 11:27:26

My Dc took maths GCSE last summer, so the first year to take the new exams. The top sets (2, I think) took Maths and Further Maths in the same curriculum time as just the GCSE. Loads of them (including Dc) got 9 in Maths and A in FM (no A* available in the course). S. London comp.

The FM has been really helpful in Dc’s transition to A level Maths.

I would talk to the school. I think FM is only important if you think your Dc might want to do Maths ot Physics at A level.

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