Despite the unique and challenging circumstances faced by schools across the UK this year, summer 2020 was a time for celebration at Kensington Park School as our first cohort of GCSE Maths students all received Grades 9 – 6, equivalent to A* – B. Dr King, Head of Maths at KPS Lower School, shares some tips on how students can secure top marks.
With a PhD in Fluid Mechanics and nearly a decade’s experience working as a consultant in the water industry, Dr King is passionate about making Maths as accessible and relevant to the real world as possible. At KPS Lower School, Dr King has designed and implemented a ‘spiral’ Maths curriculum to ensure that students recap and build on prior concepts and knowledge throughout their time with us.
Revision and past paper practice is crucial to exam success for GCSE Maths students. The curriculum is carefully designed so that Year 11 students (in their final year of the two-year GCSE programme) have time to prepare for mock examinations and subsequently address the areas that might require more support and focus. According to Dr King, the teacher’s ability to organise the curriculum effectively plays an essential part in students’ success, ensuring there is sufficient time for exam preparation, revision, and practice.
In addition to designing and organising the Maths curriculum, Dr King emphasises the importance of having a good working relationship with students: knowing their interests, strengths, and areas for improvement and giving them the confidence to ask questions.
“For me, no question is a ‘bad’ question. I encourage all my students to ask for help.”
Dr King encourages his students to be ambitious. “Students have to be proactive and want to do well. I tell all my students to aim high. To succeed in Maths, you simply need a logical and methodical approach. It’s careful book-keeping. Every problem can be broken down into tiny simple parts and tackled step-by-step. You can get an 8 or 9 through careful book-keeping, practice, and having a positive attitude,” advises Dr King.
For students who love Maths, Dr King runs co-curricular clubs at lunch and after school. ‘Maths Challenge’, for example, gives students the opportunity to apply logic and knowledge to solve real-life problems. Last year, 19 students from KPS took park the National Maths Challenge, and almost 50% received a merit certificate, putting them in the top half of performers in the country.
Reflecting on the exceptional GCSE Maths results of summer 2020, Dr King comments: “We are extremely proud of the results as the students worked really hard and deserved this recognition!”