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This case study looks at Gryphon School and their maths journey beyond post-16. The task of introducing a new course like Core Maths can appear daunting. Gryphon School’s approach to Core Maths has a clear purpose in how it sits within the options available to students. Find out how Core Maths provides students with wider skills.

About Gryphon School

Gryphon School is a Church of England secondary school with academy status for 11-18 year olds in Sherborne, Dorset. The school has a large sixth form of 450 students.

Core Maths as a qualification to support other subjects

The school had a clear purpose for the Core Maths course and its ability to support other subjects, such as biology or psychology while providing students with wider skills. Having a clear purpose also influenced the course specifications they selected.

We’ve chosen to use the OCR (MEI) Core Maths B option at our school. We selected this particular option because our primary reason for offering Core Maths is to support students who need some further mathematical and statistical knowledge for their other studies at Level 3. We have a lot of students studying social sciences at The Gryphon School and OCR B lets us spend time developing a deep understanding of the statistical tests they need in these subjects. We also really like the structure of the OCR course and the breadth that the quantitative reasoning gives students.

Anthony Shaw 

Gryphon School

Age range: 11 -18


A level Mathematics

Core Maths

Using student feedback to decide on the course structure

Deciding whether to teach Core Maths in a year or two years may depend on your school or college’s capacity and timetable, but at the Gryphon School, they also listened to their students.

Core Maths is taught over one year. We decided to do this because we like students to see this as a boost to their studies, and the feedback that we got from students implied that doing the exams in Year 12 makes it more attractive as it gives them the skills to excel in Year 13. Doing a one-year course also makes it open to Year 13 students who decide that it would benefit them. Students get three hours of contact time a week and Core Maths is in a block, just like our other A levels.

Anthony Shaw 

A flexible course that allows you to meet specific needs

As the Core Maths course focuses on applying maths in everyday life, you can be creative with the curriculum to appeal to the kind of topics students might find most useful.

Throughout the lower school, we talk to students about how useful some aspects of the maths they study is. We’ve built financial maths, statistical literacy, and real-life estimation tasks into our curriculum, so that our students are exposed to the big ideas in Core Maths early on. Our social sciences department and our geography teachers speak to all of their prospective students during open evenings and induction days to strongly suggest that students study Core Maths alongside their subjects.

Anthony Shaw 

Find out more about Core Maths and the support we offer here.

More advice

The following resources and pages offer further advice about increasing participation in level 3 maths and teaching Core Maths:

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