"It's only half an hour, but it will give you a GCSE grade every week"
Abi was particularly drawn to the assessments feature on , which she knew would be a big draw for both pupils and parents. At the beginning of each month, she sets up weekly Higher and Foundation papers for her older pupils, whilst for her younger pupils she sets tests linked to the National Curriculum levels. Abi then lets her pupils decide how many assessments they will complete between sessions, but she makes it clear how much they will benefit from the extra practice: “[I tell pupils], ‘If you do my homework it's only half an hour, but it will give you a GCSE grade every week, and it'll help us pinpoint those gaps.’”
“They're having conversations with me about technical language they might not otherwise have come across.”
Each session, she then spends time with pupils going through their answers and discussing which questions they found harder. Abi finds the style of the questions — particularly the language used — leads to much deeper conversations with her tutees about their learning. As she explains, “They're having conversations with me about technical language they might not otherwise have come across.”
“...if pupils are consistently getting this grade on their Complete Maths homework then that's the grade they achieve in exams.”
Abi, too, has multiple examples of pupils she feels have benefited from using . She describes one tutee who came to her having been awarded a Grade 2 in the Centre Assessed Grades in 2020, but hoping to achieve a Grade 4 in the November resit. Abi immediately signed her up to where, alongside two hours of tutoring, she completed at least one additional assessment per week. In the last four homeworks, the tutee achieved a Grade 4 — and she then replicated this in the real exam, walking away with her target grade. “Ever since then,” Abi says, “whenever I've been talking to parents and pupils about I've been saying, ‘In my experience, if pupils are consistently getting this grade on their Complete Maths homework then that's the grade they achieve in exams.’”
"It's better than anything you get when your school sends you somewhere"
Abi is also a member of Complete Mathematics , where she believes every course so far offers value. Abi has found that “When you go on some training courses as a teacher, you might find most of the day is a waste of time but there will be one thing that's a little nugget. Everything that I've watched through so far is a little nugget. And if you did a whole day of it, that's a whole day of nuggets. It's better than anything you get when your school sends you somewhere.”
"I've never come across that way of teaching before"
The courses she’s accessed have provided Abi with new teaching strategies that are now embedded in her practice. She particularly enjoyed ‘Teaching with Two-Colour Counters’, saying “I've used that with so many of my pupils — I've never come across that way of teaching before. Now, whenever I've got someone new and I ask them something around negatives, if they seem like they're guessing I’ll say, ‘Are you confident on that, or are you guessing?’ [If they tell me they] always guess I'll say, ‘Okay, I'm going to draw some circles for you.’ Then we do a page with circles, dragging them around, and then we'll do a page where we're writing ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ under the numbers, and then they can just do it.”.