I’ve never met a child without some gaps in their maths learning; it’s inevitable. How they affect a student depends on where the gaps in their knowledge are.

Why gaps in maths knowledge occur

Gaps in learning maths can occur for a huge number of reasons. Maths is hugely sequential, which means that many new concepts build upon previously taught ones – miss one and you may have problems. Missing learning can result from any number of factors: missing lessons, not grasping a concept fully before the class moves on, losing concentration, teacher absences and a host of other reasons. It’s not unusual for sight or hearing problems to be picked up part-way through a school year which means children may not have been able to see or hear the lessons well. On top of that, there have been curriculum changes.

New curricula

In 2014, the new primary school maths curriculum was introduced, which meant that (in order to move us higher up the international education rankings) pupils were expected to know more maths earlier. This means that if your child was born in 2002-2004 (and to an extent 2006-2008), there were in the thick of that and may have more gaps than younger students. These years had to get up to speed really quickly for the new year 2 and year 6 primary school SATs, which was a problem for many. I wrote about this in  2015 – Why is my child finding maths particularly hard at the moment?

Plus to compound that the new GCSEs are very different from the old ones – take a look at  What’s different about the new GCSEs and what skills are needed to succeed. These exams require a more thorough understanding of the curriculum, more skills in problem-solving and ability to retain knowledge of all the curriculum.  It’s hardly surprising there are many students struggling.

What problems are caused

Gaps in maths cause difficulty in taking on board new concepts, which can delay or pause learning in some topics. If these gaps are very early (foundation or year 1) in the curriculum, it can mimic the effects of dyscalculia – see Does my child have dyscalculia? Gaps later in the curriculum tend to have a less profound effect, but can still be problematic.

Much of the tutoring that our teachers do at Tutor My Kids, in maths, is gap filling. Whether it’s dealing with a year 3 child who’s struggling or a GCSE student who needs to simply pass their exam.

For information on maths tutoring, click here,  email Rachel or call Rachel Law on 01223 858421.

If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, please take a look at our tutor page, the kind words from our tutors and our other blogs.





New GCSEs in English and maths

in English and Maths.

If your child is in year 9 now, they’ll be starting their
new GCSEs in maths, English language and English in Sept 15. It will be
assessed by external exams at the end of the 2 year course in the summer of 2017,
featuring the new 9 to 1 (high to low) grading system.
The other exams will be added in Sept 16, for examination
in Summer 2018, so the current year 8s will be the first to experience the new
exams for the majority of the subjects.

What’s happening to maths?

The new maths GCSE will be more ‘challenging’ with more emphasis
on problem solving. There will be new topics, such as ratio and proportion and
students will be expected to learn mathematical formulas by heart.

syllabus will feature around a third more content and will require pupils to
answer “real world problems”, including financial mathematics, to ensure the
area is covered in greater depth.

And English?

Twenty per cent of marks for written exams will be allocated to
accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar in the new English language GCSE
and, while there will be no set texts, students will be expected to read

literature, which will no longer be compulsory, will see students having to
tackle an unseen text and will require pupils to study at least one Shakespeare
play, a Victorian novel and modern British fiction or drama since 1914.
Poetry is also set to become a bigger
part of the GCSE
 syllabus from 2015, with pupils required to study at
least 15 poems by at least five different poets.
The link below
shows comparison of new to old grades.