15 August 2017

Planning for September: Year 12

I'm looking forward to teaching the new linear A level to two Year 12 classes this year. I've been preparing some materials for these classes and thought it might be helpful to share them here, in case they are of use to anyone.

1. Scheme of work and resources
When preparing schemes of work, schools have had to look very carefully at timings to make sure they can fit all of the A level content into the two year time frame (I blogged about this here). At my school we took the estimated hours from Edexcel's scheme of work as a starting point and cut everything by around a third - it just about works, though our teaching will be rather rushed.

My school's new A level scheme of work looks very similar to our GCSE scheme of work, with a front page showing an approximate timeline and then a more detailed page for each topic showing the specification and resources. We won't have any student textbooks so links to resources are vital. I've blogged about A level resources before and many of these are still useful for the new A level. There are a few gaps for new topics but we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
Although the content of the maths specification hasn't changed dramatically, there are a few minor tweaks that we need to look out for. For example the AS specification now includes fractional inequalities like those shown below (these were previously on FP2 for Edexcel). It's a subtle change and straightforward to teach, but could easily be missed.
From Pearson Textbook Pure AS (spot the typo!)

Many schools are planning to teach the pure content first and leave the applied content until later in the year. When we come to the applied content, it will be useful to refer to Edexcel's Teaching Guide for Mechanics and Teaching Guide for Statistics.

2. First lesson
I've created a PowerPoint for my first lesson with Year 12 which you're very welcome to borrow and adapt. It includes course information, some introductory algebra activities (from Don Steward, Susan Whitehouse and Underground Maths), and the entry assessment I blogged about here.
First lesson activity from Susan Whitehouse
3. Student blog
At my previous school I was a Key Stage 5 Coordinator and really enjoyed running a simple blog for Sixth Form students. I hope to do this again this year. I've set one up at glynmaths.blogspot.co.uk and will use it to share information and exercises with students. As they won't have textbooks, it's important that I make sure they have access to plenty of independent study material throughout the course.

4. Student handbook and checklist
Our Sixth Form students are required to keep a course handbook or specification in their folder for every subject. This year I have updated our handbook for the new A level, including the topic checklist at the back. If you'd like to borrow and adapt this, there's a Word version here.
Delivering the new A level will be hard work for all involved, particularly for those teaching Further Maths. Initially we will have all the same challenges that we had for the new GCSE - a lack of past papers, relatively few resources, no grade boundaries and uncertainty around timings. But nevertheless, I think we're all really looking forward to getting stuck into teaching it next month.
Teaching support from Tarquin A level


  1. A great 'head's up' on the fractional inequalities, thank you.(Shame the Pearson textbook had a typo on the first line - threw me! 6/x > 2 not 6/x >x). Love the first lesson and sixth form handbook, off to Tesco's to source that calculator : )

    1. Thank you! I didn't spot that typo but have now added a note above! This is the problem with first editions... I'll ask Adam Creen to add it to his list of corrections: http://adamcreen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/pearson-textbook-corrections.html.

  2. I got my calculator on Ebay for about £20. It came from India in a week.

  3. Thanks for this Jo,the first lesson powerpoint has saved me a lot of time!
    Has your school decided on a route for the new Further maths A level? I'm finding it difficult to choose a route and stick to it !

    1. Hi. I'm not teaching further this year. My colleague have gone for a further mechanics and statistics route. I guess it depends on the expertise and preference of your further maths teachers...?

  4. Thank you Jo, As a new coordinator your blog is tremendously helpful to plan. Thank you.