CfEM blog: the 'Focused 15' at Grimsby Institute - The ETF


Emma Bell, Maths Enhancement Manager at Grimsby Institute, gives an insight into some of the work being done by the College as one of the Centres for Excellence in Maths specifically for the Mastery theme.

At Grimsby Institute, we have been utilising a work scheme called “Focused 15” as part of the Centres for Excellence in Maths programme. We came up with the scheme after we examined examination data from the first two sittings of the 9-1 GCSE Maths specification from an exam board. This covered well over a million items of data and as a result we were able to identify the topics that, on the whole, grade 4 students were competent with, but grade 3 students were not. These became the basis of our Scheme of Work.​

We refined this scheme using the next exam series, and now have our second iteration of the “Focused 15”. These are fifteen interconnected topics which vary in size and difficulty, but build over time to give a rounded, good level of mathematical understanding – not just for an exam, but for each individual student’s future.

Focused 15 at Grimsby College
Why is The Focused 15 innovative?

GCSE Resit courses are, by their very nature, exam focused. Traditional Schemes of Work are conveyor belt-like, moving from one objective to another, lesson by lesson, ensuring that each of the 150 or so objectives dictated by the Awarding Body are covered.

The Focused 15 is different. It’s elastic. The 15 topics need to be covered in the year, but teachers have the freedom to use their professional judgement to dictate the speed of delivery to suit the students in front of them.

Why does The Focused 15 demonstrate excellence?

The Focused 15 ties in beautifully with the new Education Inspection Framework.

The students each have a copy of The Focused 15 wheel, which puts the objectives in sequence, and shows the route that each student will be taking to master the 15 topics.

Students are able to track their progress and own their individual journey.

How is The Focused 15 effective?

The scheme is effective in two main ways. It empowers teachers to develop their students’ mathematical abilities for future life after the GCSE exam, and it also allows students to bridge the gaps in knowledge that have held them back so far.