GCSE Maths

What will I be studying during the course?

The year 9 curriculum is a transition year between KS3 and the beginning of the GCSE course, strengthening skills and reinforcing students’ mathematical knowledge.
We begin teaching the Key Stage 4 curriculum in Year 10, allowing two years to complete the course.

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The course has been divided into distinct units of study which are further differentiated to suit the needs of learners. Pupils will be assessed at the end of each unit so that you can follow their progress as you continue with this course. Assessment analysis sheets and improvement activities can be found in pupils’ exercise books which will inform of their progress and areas for improvement.

It is an expectation in mathematics that; pupils revisit basic material on a regular basis, they make sufficient notes in their reference books that allow them to do this and they show clear working solutions in their workbooks. Pupils should also utilise Mymaths to support their studies and boost their confidence in the basic material as well as stretch themselves in order for them to achieve their full potential at the end of Year 11. All pupil should have a scientific calculator (preferably a CASIO).

For our most able young mathematicians we can offer the OCR Level 2 Further Mathematics Qualification (8360). If you choose to study this (not decided until year 11) then you will be able to achieve grades 9 – 1, similar to that of the current GCSE and this will be an additional GCSE qualification which is fantastic preparation for AS Level maths. The units of learning for further mathematics are covered within the context of the current GCSE maths curriculum, apart from an additional unit at the end of the GCSE course.

What will the examinations be like?

For each exam board there are 3 Papers:


Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3



OCR H Non-Calculator Calculator Calculator 3 x 100 3 x 90mins
OCR F Calculator Non-Calculator Calculator 3 x 100 3 x 90mins

Assessment Style

Content from any part of the curriculum can appear on any paper and is assessed with a mix of question styles from short single answer questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a pupil progresses through the paper.


Pupils can achieve a grade 1 – 5 (Strong pass C/B) on the foundation tier paper and a grade 4 – 9 on the higher tier paper. Students should only consider entering the higher tier paper if they are confident they will achieve a grade 6 or above.

Who do I need to see to find out more?

Talk to your mathematics teacher or to Mr Thompson, the Head of Mathematics.


How can I try to support my child to be ‘GCSE ready’ for Maths?

The only way to learn maths is to ‘do maths.’

  • Does your child have access to the school maths subscriptions and are they using them?
  • Can they explain that day’s teaching to you?
  • Have they completed their homework to a good standard?
  • Have they created flashcards to help the revise that week's topics?
  • Have they collected exam papers for extra practice?

Sitting with an open revision guide does not help them to be GCSE ready.

Do I need to buy any specific texts or revision guides?

Revision guides are available to purchase in school and match the school's exam board, however, some of the items above may be of more use.

Free websites such as GCSE Bitesize, OnMaths or Corbett maths may be helpful.

Which exam board and how many papers will I have?

Higher tier mathematics students at Fernwood follow the OCR specification and Foundation tier students follow the OCR specification.

Both exam boards have 3 papers and are 90 minutes per each paper, for a total of 4½ hours

Is there any specific equipment that I need?

A scientific calculator and a ruler are required (we recommend a Casio) and it is recommended that each student bring their own compass and protractor.


The Fernwood School
Goodwood Road, Wollaton
Nottingham, NG8 2FT

0115 9286326