The Fernwood School Logo

The Fernwood School

"High Achievement with Care and Discipline for All"

Follow Us Facebook Twitter YouTube RSS Feeds


Welcome to the maths department at The Fernwood School. We are very proud of our GCSE results. Our results this summer were particularly pleasing: A fantastic 84% of our students entered achieved grades 9 – 4, 63% achieved grades 9 – 5 and 25% achieved grades 9 – 7 in mathematics. Contributions to progress 8 were particularly strong across the cohort.  Additionally 15 students sat the ‘Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics’ (IGCSE) – 100% achieved grades A*Distinction – B.  All our students who required additional support with their mathematics learning also achieved an Entry Level qualification.

The ethos of the department is that mathematics encompasses all aspects of everyday life and, as such, we focus on the use of mathematics in the real world and problem solving in order to encourage our pupils to become independent learners in the subject.  This is exemplified by the ‘Maths Challenge Wall Problem of the Month’, which offers students a range of challenges which (if successfully completed, with worked solutions) can allow them to receive Award Points towards their Fernwood Award, and a £10 voucher for a local cinema. Check out an example of a past problem here.   Students are also encouraged to try challenges from the ‘Challenge Wall’ in the department, or look at other enrichment activities, such as those found on the NRICH website.  These challenges provide depth, rather than acceleration (learning new topics), which is perfect preparation for the new GCSEs.

Mathematics -Challenge Wall

Students who may struggle with maths are supported by specialist teachers, and can also benefit from interventions, including regular numeracy sessions during tutor time and, where appropriate, small group and one-to-one sessions.

We have a wealth and breadth of experience in the department, with our practitioners able to deliver personalised lessons which seek to engage, enthuse and encourage our learners to make rapid progress and achieve their potential.

As a school we have subscribed to the online learning platform MyMaths, which students are encouraged to use to support their independent study. Students are expected to provide themselves with basic equipment including: ruler, compasses, protractor or angle measurer and a scientific calculator.

Mathematics Staff

Mr A Thompson Teacher of Mathematics Faculty Leader for Mathematics
Mrs G Lombardi Teacher of Mathematics Deputy Faculty Leader (KS3)
Mr N Jackson Teacher of Mathematics Assistant Faculty Leader (Assessment & Reporting)
Mrs N Robson Teacher of Mathematics Assistant Faculty Leader for Mathematics (KS4)
Mr S Crandley Teacher of Mathematics Assistant Headteacher
Mr L Mead Teacher of Mathematics
Mrs B Watkins Teacher of Mathematics Maths Intervention Coordinator
Mrs H Treanor Teacher of Mathematics
Miss N Whitehouse Teacher of Mathematics
Mrs S Badar Teacher of Mathematics
Mrs K Ludlow Learning support Numeracy Lead
Mr J Yates Teacher of Mathematics
Miss R Zagan
Teacher of Mathematics


Key Stage 3 Curriculum (Years 7 & 8)

Year 7 and 8 are being taught a ‘Mastery based’ curriculum. This means that students are taught in mixed attainment classes. This has been a new departure beginning in 2016 for year 7, and is driven by the department’s determination to ‘close the gap’ for those entering the school with lower results in mathematics, while continuing to stretch those who are already able to handle the main concepts.

The new curriculum and approach matches the aims of the latest Mathematics Curriculum at Key Stage 3 which states that  “…the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage” and “pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.”The national curriculum in England Key stages 3 and 4 framework document December 2014 Reference: DFE-00183-2013

In addition, research in Mathematics Education suggests that the following diagrams demonstrate the potential differences in outcome when students are set or taught in mixed ability groupings:

  1. Traditional setting by ability:
    Transition Setting by Ability
  2. Mixed ability teaching the picture is closer to that shown in the diagram below:
    Mixed Ability

Higher attaining students achieve as well as they would do when setting is used and the gap is closed from the bottom end. This is supported by data and research from around the world.

Furthermore, the latest GCSE exams are more challenging and demand a much deeper level of understanding and ability to explain reasoning in order to reach the highest grades.  We believe that using the new approach to teaching in Key Stage 3 is the best way to prepare all students for the challenging new curriculum they are following.

We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new programme of study in Year 7 and 8.

If you would like to read some educational research about mathematics and mixed attainment the 2 books listed below would be great sources:

The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths by Jo Boaler.

Getting the B…… to Add Up by Mike Ollerton.

Mathematics - Dambusters Mission

Students working on some of the mathematics involved in the ‘Dambusters’ mission during a previous RAF themed immersion day

Mathematics - Evidence Based Investigation

Students working using Mathematics and History skills to complete the ‘Evidence based investigation’ from an RAF themed immersion day










Key Stage 4 Curriculum (Year 9, 10 & 11)

We begin teaching the Key Stage 4 curriculum in Year 9, allowing three years to complete the course.  Students follow the curriculum appropriate for their ability leading to mathematics GCSE taken at Foundation (New GCSE Grades 1 to 5) or Higher (Grades 4 to 9) in the summer of Year 11, taught in 4 lessons per week in groups based on ability.  More able students are encouraged to study for an additional qualification, the AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics, taken alongside the normal GCSE in Year 11.  This qualification looks at much of the work that is covered in AS level Core 1.

Students currently sit exams from AQA, the GCSE qualification is Mathematics (8300), sat at Higher or Foundation Level.  In addition some more able students may be invited to sit the AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics.  Those students who struggle with the GCSE may be entered for the Entry Level Certificate in Mathematics (5930).

Exams taken from May/June 2017 are following the new GCSE Specification, and as such are graded from lowest grade 1 to highest grade 9.  At present there is no information to indicate where grade boundaries will be for these new, more demanding exams.  There are only a couple of guaranteed connections:  new grade 4 is equivalent to an old grade C pass; additionally, new grade 7 corresponds to old grade A, with only the very highest scoring A* grades qualifying for the new grade 9.  For more information on the new GCSE grading please see Ofqual document on this link. The new specification has an increased emphasis on mathematical reasoning and explanation of methods, as well as an increased amount of more difficult content on both Foundation and Higher papers.  The highest grade on the Foundation paper is now Grade 5, which is equivalent to a high C grade or lower B grade in the previous GCSE.

Students from Year 10 at the Nottingham Girls’ High School on an enrichment day.

At Fernwood, our GCSE course is split into up in to 15 Units.  Units 1 to 12 are for all students, 13 and 14 are for students taking the Higher GCSE only. Unit 15 is relevant for those students who will be sitting the ‘Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics’ in addition to the standard GCSE.  Each unit is taught in 3 bands, each follows a parallel curriculum with overlapping learning outcomes and extension opportunities, allowing some movement of students between groups where appropriate.  Each unit is concluded with an end of unit test, which, in addition to end of year exams in Year 9 and 10 and mock exams in Year 11, are used to monitor students’ progress.  As in Key Stage 3, students are encouraged to reflect on their performance in these assessments, and use their results to target their areas for improvement through the use of a formal ‘assessment analysis’ process, leading to their own ‘Personal Learning Checklists’ (PLCs).  This also provides information to their class teachers, who can then provide personalised interventions to help them progress and prepare for their final examinations.

This link gives the learning outcomes of the topics covered in our Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculum;

Students have access to a large array of revision resources through the school learning gateway, including past papers, exam revision packs, workbooks from publishers CGP, as well as the MyMaths learning platform.  We also facilitate at-cost purchase of other revision resources from CGP, such as revision guides and example papers with mark schemes.  Students are encouraged to use these resources for independent study and revision.  We are also suggesting students engage with a fantastic new on-line resource called Diagnostic Questions, which will help students identify their weaker areas as revision targets for exams, as well as encourage them to explain their reasoning.  In addition, staff provide support for students in a ‘Maths Hub’ run every lunchtime, with additional ‘7th session’ revision lessons targeted at students in Year 11.

In addition to the enrichment activities in Key Stage 3 more able students in Key Stage 4 are entered for the UKMT Maths Challenge Papers at Intermediate level.  The school is also part of the ‘Further Maths Support Programme‘, and organises trips to some of their events where appropriate.


Exam Board and Qualifications

Our qualifications are set by the AQA exam board.

Mathematics (8300)

AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics

Entry Level Certificate in Mathematics (5930)

Ofqual document comparing ‘Old’ and ‘New’ GCSE grades


Mathematics Year 7 Learning Outcomes



Diagnostic Questions



BBC ByteSize


Further Maths Support Programme


Head Teacher – Mr P Burke
The Fernwood School, Goodwood Road, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2FT
0115 9286 326 |
© 2018 The Fernwood School