27 July 2014

Kicking off Year 12

Following on from my last post on ideas for the first Year 7 lesson of the year, here's some ideas for the start of Year 12.

Unfortunately we don't really have any time to spare in our sixth form teaching. It's a challenge just to fit enough lessons into the school year to cover all the course material before our students go off to take their exams. So, sadly, there's no time for enrichment or getting to know each other - students have to hit the ground running.

Entry Assessment
At my school, as at many others, we ask our students to prepare for Year 12 by doing some summer work. We expect them to have a solid understanding of GCSE topics when they start the course, particularly surds, indices and algebra. Last year, for the first time, we introduced a Year 12 entry assessment. The purpose of the entry assessment was to help us identify the students who needed additional support from the start of the course. We also hoped it would identify any students who shouldn't be taking AS maths at all, in the hope that they might consider choosing an alternative course.

Extract from Year 12 Entry Assessment

The results from our entry assessments were rather worrying. A large number of the cohort got less than 50% even though the majority achieved a grade A* at GCSE. The simple question 'Calculate 238 x 6.3' was answered very badly, showing a lack of basic maths skills.

I had a huge amount of students come to my extra support sessions - I believe the entry assessment was a good 'wake up call' for them. It motivated these students to focus and work hard right from the start. All students improved their mark considerably in the subsequent re-test, but still some of the marks were quite low. On A level results day in a few weeks I'll be really interested to compare AS grades achieved to performance in the entry assessment last September.

Here's the files in case you want to borrow them:

Student Handbooks
We hand out student handbooks to every Year 12 in the first lesson of the year. They're asked to keep these in the front of their maths folder. It's particularly helpful that they have their own copy of the formula sheet and a guide to reading exam mark schemes.  

Here's some nice resources for the first couple of maths lessons:
  • What's the Difference - see below. This discussion activity reminds students of the importance of following the order of operations.

My Core AS and Statistics AS pages have lots more resource recommendations for the rest of the course.

If you'd like Word copies of my pdfs to adapt for your own school, please ask.


  1. linda.riddet-smith@rugeleyacademies.org.uk26 April 2016 at 12:36


    Love all of these resources and ideas. Would love a copy of the student handbook as a word file as we do Statistics in Year 12 and Mechanics in Year 13.

    Thanks for the assessments - exactly what I was looking for!


  2. caroline peters23 June 2016 at 11:52

    Q19 answer has error - min point is at -2,-9

  3. Hi Jo

    Really appreciate all the ideas you share here.
    If it is possible to receive these resources in Word form, I'd be very grateful.

    Thank you.


  4. Hi Jo
    Fantastic ideas and I really do appreciate them all. Could I have an Word form for the year 12 student handbook as we do statistics in year 12 rather than mechanics. I know this a bit cheeky but if you have the S1 equivalent that would be brilliant.
    Email address is sht@stbrn.ac.uk

  5. Hi Jo,
    Thanks again for this; it would be really useful to have the handbook in Word form for my new school. Thanks. onechriswhite@hotmail.com

  6. Hi Joanne

    Fabulous resources!! Thank you!!
    Could I possibly have the handbook as a Word Document as well? We also do S1 in year 12 so if you have the S1 equivalent that would be brilliant.

    email: msmith@hillcrest.bham.sch.uk
    Kind regards

  7. What was the percentage pass mark for the first time they sat the test please? I see the second time is set to 90%

    1. I think we went with 70%, though that meant an awful lot of students failed!

  8. Hi Jo, I think the student handbook is fab for helping the new students be organised and setting the expectations of a-level.
    Please would it be possible to send to me in word format too. amy.griffiths@qbury.com
    Thank you so much (and for all your other fantastic resources!!)

  9. Hi Jo, great resource as usual, could you send me the file in word format too please joel.milburn@stantonbury.org.uk

  10. Hi Jo,
    I met you at the Maths conference in Warwick, and was then, as I am now, in awe of all you do. I would love a word copy of the student handbook, as well as your Year 12 entry test, re-test and feedback sheet, if possible.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Carreen! All sent, plus a newer version of the handbook that includes a resource list for students. Hope it helps! Jo

    2. Thank you Jo,
      You're an absolute superstar!

  11. Hi Jo,
    Can I cheekily ask for the same as Carreen? If possible of course. We do Decision in Year 12, so would have to adapt it.
    Many thanks.

    1. Thank you! I have already used the first half of the assessment with my new y12! Fab!

    2. How many of yours passed?

    3. I can't remember - I used this test at my last school which was 3 years ago. We have a slightly different test at my current school - gave it to my Year 12s last week. Out of 28 in the class, 5 failed (less than 60%) and have to resit. Plus their parents are contacted to say they may want to consider another course.

  12. This is a great resource. may I too have word docs so I can cater to the needs of my students

  13. Oops!I forgot to add my email!

  14. Thanks to everyone who has commented. I have now put all the Word documents here so people no longer have to ask me individually. Hope that helps!

  15. Hi Jo, What activities or resources did you use in the skills sessions? In particular 'Maths skills'?

    1. Stuff like fractions and multiplication in the maths skills session. We used GCSE resources, plus transition resources like this booklet: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/transition-worksheets-gcse-to-as-level-6344882

  16. Hi Jo,

    Would it be possible to have your student handbook as a word document, please? It looks like it has loads of good ideas that we would love to adapt if possible.


    1. Hi. There's a much more up-to-date version in this post: http://www.resourceaholic.com/2017/08/NewYear12.html