Ms Steel Maths

I like to make things, get over excited about spreadsheets, enjoy maths and get bored easily all of which explains why I love teaching.

GCSE resit pilots – thoughts from my kitchen table

The following post is the result of a long discussion with Anna Bellamy @Anna_Maths over my kitchen table while eating dinner and drinking gin, My writing in in purple and her comments are in tardis blue if that’s not too confusing.

TLDR: We both care a lot about GCSE maths resits and currently we are feeling a bit annoyed (Germanic translation by Anna a bit annoyed = angry!) by people wanting to come in and tell us how to do our jobs. Continue reading “GCSE resit pilots – thoughts from my kitchen table”


3 months in to teaching the 2 year GCSE course

We’ve just done the first assessment of how the 2 year GCSE students are getting on. I have so much I want to blog about, it turns out designing a course from scratch is wonderfully liberating, absolutely terrifying and really hard work!
Continue reading “3 months in to teaching the 2 year GCSE course”

Another way to do GCSE resit

TL:DR We’re trialling a 2 year GCSE resit with no exam at the end of the first year. You can see the summary scheme of work here or the full one here Continue reading “Another way to do GCSE resit”

Gambling with futures

Yesterday’s letter has me wondering whether I’m doing the best thing for my students. The full letter is here but the paragraph I’m interested in is this one

“Under the new system, a grade 4 and above will be equivalent to a C and above. This isand will remainthe level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post 16. Therefore, a GCSE pass at new grade 4 will continue to have real currency for individual pupils as they progress to further study and employment. Where employers, FE providers and universities currently accept a grade C we would expect them to continue recognising a grade 4.” Continue reading “Gambling with students futures”

I like to know how students are feeling about topics, there’s usually a few points during lesson where I’ll get students to do either whiteboard or thumbs up/down so I can get an idea of where they are all up to. It works well enough but there’s usually a bit of looking around and wanting to be the same as others. As there’s now often chromebooks or tablets out in the lesson anyway I’ve been getting students to do a quick exit ticket in Google Forms.  It’s really easy to do and working well.

Capture Continue reading “Exit tickets”

Feedback sheets an update

A while ago I posted about helping students reflect on mock exams and learn from their mistakes. The original post is here . This year it’s all had an update as we’re using Google Classroom which makes it all much easier. Continue reading “Feedback sheets an update”

Recently Jack Brown ( @TLMaths) was asking about homework on twitter and the things I was trying to explain got too long and I needed to go so I said I’d blog later about homework. It’s not that I think what we do is brilliant or the best way to do it but it works for us and I’m always interested to find out what other people do so I guess that should go both ways. Don’t be expecting an exciting post though it’s just a description of what my department does. Continue reading “Homework”


Last night was the second Sheffield maths teachmeet and it was lovely to spend time with such wonderful enthusiastic maths teachers. It reminded me how lucky I am to be part of such a brilliant community both within my college and the wider community of maths teachers. I think time spent talking to other maths teachers sharing ideas and talking about some of what we do day to day is really valuable. Continue reading “Teachmeets”

Five favourites from AS Maths

Last year I wrote 5 favourite things from GCSE maths so this year I thought I’d put some from AS. There’s quite a few things that we’ve tried this year with the AS students so I thought I’d write about a few. We’ll see how results go but the students have been positive about the new things we’ve done. I’ve absolutely loved my AS class this year but they were a bit odd (well most of us are!) and quite weak so it’s been important to try and help them do well. I’ve done more about trying to look at the bigger picture and connect topics to give a better understand but there were also a few simple things that we did that I thought worked well. Continue reading “Five favourites from AS Maths”

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