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On Friday 12 November 2021, myself, Stephen Wilkinson and David Tuhey delivered a morning session introducing A level to the Mathematics PGCE students at the University of Nottingham.

We broke the session into three sections. The first, presented by Stephen, looked into the history of A level Mathematics, its changes in structure, and how Core Maths has also been introduced in the last few years. Students had a chance to discuss their own beliefs and feelings about teaching an A level course.

In the second part, I took the students through a possible introductory lesson, showing how the culture in an A level classroom may differ to the culture in a GCSE classroom. Students worked through a series of activities showing how discussion and group work can be used to support students, but can also lead to more independent working. We looked at a variety of tasks that covered aspects of coordinate geometry, and the links between graphical and algebraic thinking.

Finally, Dave gave an excellent session on the importance of problem solving. Students enjoyed looking at possible ways to go through problems and also at what A level students now face in their examination papers.

Students gave us some excellent feedback, including:

  • Really liked the information about the new A level spec. I hadn’t realised how much more intimidating the exam questions had become.
  • The session was great, lovely to jump back into A level. Reminds me of the love and passion which A level maths provided me.

We all really enjoyed delivering our first face-to-face event for a while. If your institution has Initial Teacher Training students who would benefit from this session, please contact your local Area Coordinator.

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