The focus of this new course is on helping those students for whom A-level Mathematics might be a struggle in terms of achieving their best possible result. The course will provide excellent advice and guidance on best practice classroom teaching and learning activities and ideas that ensure students develop the understanding and confidence to succeed. Presented by an internationally recognised expert on Mathematics, you will gain excellent ideas, supported by feedback from the 2018 examinations.


  • Gain a better understanding of what candidates need to do to secure their highest possible A level grade
  • Learn how Mathematics A level papers are marked to better understand how candidates should present their working and ensure success in the exans
  • Key strategies for students to optimise their performance in the exam
  • Develop your understanding of intelligent use of technology to enhance both the teaching of A level Mathematics and students’ use of calculators in an examination
  • Further appreciation of the importance of teaching for understanding and the opportunities for making connections within mathematics, especially with the new terminal examinations
COURSE DATE In-school only
  • Mathematics subject leads
  • Teachers with leadership responsibility for KS5 Mathematics
  • Teachers of A level mathematics
  • Prospective teachers of A level mathematics
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues



10.00 – 10.15am: Introduction

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Feedback on 2018 – the key issues which prevented and encouraged student success in the exams

10.15 – 11.15am: Identifying the issues

  • The challenges of A-level mathematics and essentials for success for lower attaining students
  • Secure transitioning from GCSE
  • Barriers to achievement and identification of issues – key factors for teachers to help student motivation and progress
  • The basics: curriculum coverage, resources, use of technology/calculator, and exam preparation for lower attaining students
  • Developing confidence in algebra, trigonometry and calculus
  • Supporting lower attaining students and developing independent learners

11.15 – 11.30am: Discussion: coffee break


11.30 – 1.00pm: Challenging topics

Each of the Challenging topics sessions will include an overview of where the topics fit within the A-level course and numerous tips both for teaching, including resources, and for answering examination questions.


11.30 – 12.00pm: Challenging topics 1 - Functions and graphs

  • Getting it right and getting the big picture – key challenges for students in understanding Functions and Graphs at A-level
  • Progression from GCSE to develop confidence in working with polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions and graphs
  • Consideration of exam questions and model solutions: feedback from 2018 to demonstrate the standard to which students should aspire

12.00 – 12.30pm: Challenging topics 2 - Algebra and Calculus

  • Investigate why algebra and calculus are challenging to A level students
  • Teaching methods to ensure progress for all students on Algebra and calculus
  • Making sense of differentiation and integration with enhanced understanding through technology, including use of calculators and freely available software
  • Mark example answers, with a consideration of how best to use these within your teaching

12.30 – 1.00pm: Challenging topics 3 - Vectors and proof

  • Moving confidently from 2 to 3 dimensions. Methods of proof with multiple examples for teaching throughout the A-level course
  • Feedback from 2018 on vectors and proof: how to improve student understanding and progress through ongoing assessment
  • Obtain model answers demonstrating the standard to which students should aim in their exams

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion


2.00 – 3.00pm: Examination preparation and technique

  • Use of past papers, mark schemes and examiners reports to identify accessible marks for lower attaining candidates at A-level
  • How both teachers and students can make productive use of these to secure maximum marks
  • Essential working and avoiding losing marks through developing good habits throughout the course
  • Understanding the questions and getting explanations correct: teaching techniques that ensure student confidence in exams
  • Sound examination technique to optimise performance

3.00 – 3.15pm: Discussion: afternoon tea


3.15 – 3.40pm: Question and Answer session: An opportunity to consider

  • Textbooks and other resources: expert advice on which and how to use for the most effective teaching
  • Embedding and exploiting technology
  • Independent learning – best practice teaching methods to ensure ongoing motivation and final success
  • Providing additional support to promote student progress

3.40 – 3.45pm: Plenary, course evaluation and depart

Mick Blaylock

Mick is currently teaching part-time at Manchester Metropolitan University and working freelance in mathematics education as researcher, consultant and trainer. He taught mathematics for over 20 years in five different very different institutions with subject leadership responsibilities in four before becoming an HMI in 2002. He has extensive examination experience and is currently Chair of Examiners for international A-levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics. From 2014-16 he led the DfE funded Core Maths Support Programme (CMSP).

View all courses led by Mick Blaylock >