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It was great to work with a group of Year 9 girls and to focus on post-16 maths on the morning of Wednesday 16 June 2021. We had an initial discussion about what subjects they might consider after GCSE and what A level/BTEC subjects would have quantitative skills within them. The group was well informed about the maths that’s in the subjects, but didn’t all think that it would beneficial to continue with maths after GCSE.

They then explored, in pairs, a set of double-sided cards about their perception of maths. It was great to see the girls engaging in discussions and expressing their concerns and insecurities about their maths ability, despite the fact that they’re all able mathematicians in the school. They often would only compare themselves with the stronger peers in their top-set class and would have the fear that they might be moved down a set. Many of them have expressed that they wouldn’t be good enough to study A level Mathematics, despite the lack of evidence from their current attainment to suggest that. The students gradually saw a discrepancy between their ability and their perception of their ability.

We had further discussions about how maths opens many doors to careers, including ones which might not be instantly obvious, after watching different video clips about women using maths and quantitative skills in their work. It was a great session and I hope that many of them will think more about the possibility of studying maths post-GCSE.

Please visit our Inspiring your 11-16 maths students page to see how the AMSP can help you with some great ways to engage your 11-16 students with maths, and inspire them to want to continue to study it beyond GCSE, or contact your local Area Coordinator to discuss how we can support you.

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