Teaching A Level Maths for Newbies!

New to teaching A’Level in 2009, in this blog we share our ideas, best websites and resources we’ve developed along the way.


These websites were absolutely brilliant for helping me to find my feet and hit the ground running teaching AS and A Level.

1) Mathed Up

This site has resources that are free to download for C1, C2, C3, C4, S1, M1, FP1, FP2, FP3 AND FP4. The resources include teaching Power Points, demonstration excel files, past papers for the AQA scheme and geometer’s sketch pad files. The resources are great but as with all check before delivering to a class. Follow the tabs for KS5 at the top to access resources.

2) Bring on the Maths

These resources can be used in a number of ways as described here, it is a problem with 12 presented possible solutions. They are great starting point for conversation. Only some of the resources are free, they are great and well worth a mention.

3) Kenny’s Pouch– A Level Schemes of work

Kangaroo maths is a great site for resources, on the link above you will find complete schemes of work with embedded resources, including worksheets and unit assessments. The schemes of work are developed with the EdExcel course in mind but still if you know your specification you can pick and select the resources appropriate.

4) Risps

These are rich starting points created by Johnny Griffis, organised by topic each Risp has a pdf instruction document and a separate pdf with the teachers notes.

5) Mr Barton

A great site for all teaching needs, I found the A Level tarsia jigsaws a gift, click here and scroll down to download zip files containing core jigsaws and don’t miss co-author Laura Rees-Hughes’ jigsaw bundle there too!

6) Centre for Innovation of Mathematics

Course material, not innovative but good notes for filling gaps in knowledge or for pupils to read and supplement their own notes.

7) School Work Out

This site is fantastic for summary sheets for pupils, I direct pupils to this site for revision. This section of the website is great for word documents and lots of end of topic assessments and OCR schemes of work. Again some editing maybe required for your course and pupils.

Don’t be put off by the subscription as there are a number of worthwhile online samples that are free to use.

9) NGfL A’Level Resources

This is not the easiest site to navigate, after selecting the module and then the topic you need to click open this resource to access the page of downloadable resources. All resources are free and include starter activities, videos and interactive teaching resources. I love the e-chalk resources especially this demonstration of gradient relationship between tangents and normals, click and drag the red dot to move the tangent. Click on the wheel to make sure the normal is shown also.

10) Math Tutor

Thanks to @mismatchtea for pointing me to this site, each section has a video, a pdf, a diagnostic test, exercises and in some cases extension exercise. A great find, thanks again to Mismatch!

This picture of an A Level maths formula tree is from a blog by Priss Lynn
If you have any suggestions to add to the list, let me know I am also on the look out! Get in touch @numberloving and visit our NumberLoving store for free and premium resources!!

Anything but more past papers…

As it starts to wind up to exam season (for those of us with March entries) it’s a good idea to have an arsenal of revision activities at the ready. Past papers are great but there are many more ways to engage our students in meaningful revision. Here are NumberLoving’s favourites.

Revision Relay Races

These are a great way to get students engaged, divide pupils into teams of 3, each team collects their first question from the front, when they have answered it they bring it to you. If they’re correct they get ten points and the next question, if they’re wrong they can keep trying but do have the option to pass at the cost of one point. This score board really helps keep them motivated if you can display it on the IWB. I would also recommend assigning points for good team work. There are some excellent examples on the TES, this one shared by Alipon and this one by George Stewart. I have used these templates to create an algebra version, a low ability version and a blank version. If you don’t have time to write 20 questions and print then just cut up some old exam papers. Sorted!

Collective Memories

Collective memories are a great way to get students to remember and recall information. For more detailed notes on how they work and loads of free resources see here. If you get them to do an individual one then send it home with them to go on the wall in the bathroom!


This is a great revision game, there are quite a few floating around on the TES, for example here is one by Andrew Chambers. Students work in teams and take it in turn to choose a topic and a number of points (more points = harder question) if their team gets it correct they gain the points, if they get it wrong the other teams get a chance to steal. If you have mixed ability teams you can get some peer tutoring going on and it makes for a really fun lesson.

Jeopardy SATS revision

Jeopardy Equations Higher GCSE

Jeopardy Triangles Higher GCSE

Micro Teaching

I have done this a few times with great results, split your class into groups of three and give them a revision topic which they need to work on. Ask them to prepare a five to ten minute lesson on their chosen topic. The following lesson all groups have to deliver their lessons to the rest of the class. You can get in some peer assessment and develop soft skills (I show two clips at the start, one of Alan Partridge and one of Barak Obama to get them thinking about good presentation techniques!). I have two worksheets and a PowerPoint produced by the students which I now use myself!

Key points flip book

This is a simple idea to encourage students to make some revision notes. Give them some squares of colourful paper and they have to go through each lesson in their books and write at least one key point or example from it. Then hole-punch and secure with a treasury tag and tell them to read it every night before bed!


I found and loved this resource on the TES, students first have to ‘bid’ for the equipment they think they will need and then answer the revision questions. This would make for a really fun and memorable revision activity which helps consolidate the use of equipment such as a ruler for drawing graphs and a compass for constructions.

CSI resources

I blogged earlier this week about Mysteries, my collection of CSI resources are here and make a great revision lesson. Although most of them are designed for KS3 they translate just fine for Foundation GCSE.

TES Revision Collection

My Barton himself has cherry picked some of the best revision resources on the TES and added them to this collection. Really worth a good look as there are some excellent resources in here.

Happy revising, if anyone has any other good revision ideas we would love to hear from you! Get in touch @numberloving and visit our NumberLoving store for free and premium resources

Grade C Intervention Evening- Including Exam Analysis

***New UK accountability measures means much of the information here is out of date, however resources can still be useful to most***

Schools are measured on the percentage of pupils gaining a grade C and above in 5 GCSE’s including English and Maths. Its important to note here that the other subjects that can be included in the 5 has changed see this previous post Modular Exams RIP for further details. 

We work hard for all our pupils not just those Grade C borderline students, we certainly try to “pull from the top, not the belt” (Laura Rees-Hughes’ quote). This “The Grade C Intervention Evening” is one of the strategies introduced by our Lead Intervention teacher Mrs Doyle , and we used it for those pupils that were borderline pupils. All resources are collated at the end of the post for those in a hurry.


Pupils were invited based on early entry results i.e. those that gained a grade D. In addition to those pupils professional dialogue was held with teachers to ascertain any other pupils who may not have gotten a D but still should be targeting a grade C and above or had the ability to gain a grade C.


Letters were sent to parents by post (during the evening email addresses were collected in a simple sign in sheet). We collected emails in order to keep parents informed, we are hoping to build upon this form of communication with parents. In addition text messages were sent to both parents and pupils, allowing parents to set reminders on their phones. As well as include parents in the TenMarks updates.


In preparation we used EdExcel Results plus to download question by question analysis for the entire cohort. The analysis can be downloaded pupil by pupil but we found it much easier and quicker to download the whole cohort. Once downloaded as an excel file. You will find the analysis refers to questions by number, so we insert an extra column and describe (in pupil friendly language) what that question was about. We then colour code the cell depending on what strand eg. Pink= data handling. Using clever conditional formatting the marks gained by pupils per question is coloured either red, amber or green (green being they gained full marks). An example is here Example Exam Analysis (names of pupils omitted). Then hiding the other pupils we are able to print off a pupil friendly exam analysis which is both visual and informative.

AQA have a similar called Enhanced Results Analysis. Definitely worth checking it out with your exam board.


Our lead intervention teacher gives a brief presentation with keydates, revision and intervention opportunities available and gives guidance to to the web pages built and detailed in the revision Booklet which is printed and provided along with pupil analysis. Pupils and their parents/carers are then invited to take part in some mini lessons on key topics. We choose long multiplication as often parents are unfamiliar with the new techniques taught and Pythagoras’ theorem.

Here are the teaching resources we use for those two mini lessons.  Long Multiplication Grade C EveningMini Lessons Materials


Depending on your school budget you maybe able to provide students with a copy of the Foundation Mathwatch disks which can be purchased here. Alternatively, CGP have launched a similar product which is (in number loving’s opinion) superior to Mathswatch, there are lots of worked exam questions and you can request a free sample here so see what you think (more to follow on this and some other exciting new bits and pieces from CGP). If your budget won’t stretch to that you can just order them in to sell on the evening, along with equipment such as a compass and calculator!


Theses revision sites work better in Google Chrome and are linked within the booklet above.
Algebra Revision site, data handling revision site, number revision site, shape/space revision site, past paper site

sign in

Example Exam Analysis

Useful Websites for revision

Long Multiplication Grade C Evening

Mini Lessons Materials

If you try any of these resources or you hold a similar event at your school we would love to hear from you! @numberloving

Who wants clean windows

Recently I have developed a bit of an obsession with writing on the windows. It really attracts the pupils attention more so than a normal display and is surprisingly fun (simple things)!

You can buy washable chalk pens from most stationary shops for about £3. Underneath is a picture of my windows at the moment with some work on representing data in bar charts and pictograms. Also I have a quick plenary window for ‘one thing I have learnt’ and ‘one question I still have’ post its.

Students LOVE writing on the windows with the pens so I often use this as a prize for them winning bingo or other little activities. I will let pupils write a fact they have learnt or a little example on the window. The possibilities are endless… try it and your windows will never be clean again!

Get in touch @numberloving

Modular Examinations RIP 2014?

The imminent changes in the United Kingdom are far away but close enough that Heads of Departments/Directors of Learning need to consider them now. Especially if your current year 9’s have began studying the GCSE modular course, is that your school?

On the 27th of October 2011 the UK government released details of plans to reform the Key Stage 4 performance tables which are published annually following results. In a nut shell one of the main changes will be that no more than two non-GCSE qualifications will be counted as equivalent in the school’s headline measures. Therefore this has potential to effect the number of pupils achieving five A*-C GCSE qualifications in school’s.

Those subjects following a modular course will need to ensure that their course is in section 96 of the “headline measure list” to be published in January 2012. Beware if you plan for any of your current year 9 pupils to take a modular examination this academic year (i.e. whilst they are in year9), this course has to be completed by summer 2013 (i.e. the end of year 10). If the full modular course is not completed by summer 2013, the course must be recognised in section 96. In addition the modular course looks ‘likely’ to be scrapped completely after 2014, so get in touch with your exam board and find out how they plan to change modular courses to linear courses.

Further information can be found on the Big Vocational Debate website and on this document of Briefing_and_FAQs.

What are your department’s plans for the future? Do you believe in the modular course? Get in touch @numberloving