GCSE Mathematics Resits: Supporting Students Through Challenging Times

The ERA Foundation has long recognized the critical importance of mathematics education, particularly for the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Both government and educational organizations must focus on ensuring that young people leave school with the skills and knowledge they need for the following stages of their education and careers.

In light of this, we were proud to support STEM Learning’s innovative work through its Maths in FE Colleges Pilot. This Pilot, which ran from 2021 to 2023, was designed to address the challenges faced by students required to resit their GCSE Mathematics exams, offering practical strategies to improve their outcomes.

The Pilot provided crucial professional development for mathematics departments in 50 further education colleges. Through training sessions, a residential summer school, and individualized support, STEM Learning’s team helped colleges evaluate and enhance their mathematics teaching approaches. Despite the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 42 participating colleges fully engaged with the training and support provided.

The impact on students has been remarkable. 78% of participants expressed confidence in achieving a grade 4 in their upcoming exams, and 90% agreed that their GCSE resit lessons had helped them improve skills they would need in the workplace. Additionally, 84% felt more confident tackling unfamiliar or difficult questions.

Teachers also reported positive outcomes, with one noting, “By leveraging the expertise and experiences of the group, we aimed to enhance the quality of our teaching and create a supportive environment for students’ mathematical growth.”

Andrew Everett, CEO and Executive Secretary of the ERA Foundation noted, “The ERA Foundation is pleased to see a focus on ensuring young people leave school with the skills and knowledge they will need for the following stages of their education and beyond. Maths is a critical subject for the engineering and manufacturing sector, and we were happy to support the Maths in FE Pilot delivered by STEM Learning.

It is great to hear that the Pilot has made significant differences in their confidence the students maths, which has led to improved attainment levels.”

The ERA Maths in FE Colleges Pilot has demonstrated that a change in approach to teaching mathematics to young people facing resits can make a significant difference. 

By making mathematics more relevant to their studies and their lives in general, we can boost their confidence and help them reach their full potential.

As the Government’s ongoing consultation around the new Advanced British Standard and compulsory maths education for children under 18 continues, we must ensure the FE sector has the necessary support to enable more young people to achieve grade 4s and above in their GCSE maths resits. 

STEM Learning’s work provides valuable insights into how this can be achieved, and the ERA Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting such initiatives for the benefit of students and industries that rely on their mathematical skills.

About STEM Learning

STEM Learning, the UK’s largest provider of STEM education support, is dedicated to improving lives through impactful initiatives such as teacher CPD, STEM Ambassador Programme, and ENTHUSE Partnerships, working closely with schools, colleges, employers, and key funders since 2004.