The Study Sessions: Back to school

It’s a new school year! Hurrah….. 

In the past there might have been a level of nervous excitement about going back. Even if every young person in the country would honestly prefer to have a life-long summer holiday. 

But, 2020 isn’t like any other year. As a result, the return to school for our teens has a Covid-shaped shadow over it. Not only have many of them not stepped foot in a classroom for almost 6 months, but they’ve seen:

  • a bit of a debacle with this years’ exams;
  • shifting sands over social distancing and safety in school; and
  • unanswered questions about next year’s GCSE exams.

This first episode of Season Two of The Study Session Podcast from The Study Buddy looks at, unsurprisingly, going back to school.

14: Making Maths Count: Overcoming barriers to master Maths GCSE The Study Sessions: from The Study Buddy

Could Maths be the Marmite of the Education world? Students seem to either love it or loathe it. They get it or they struggle. Quite often you’ll hear students who don’t enjoy it say: “I don’t know why I’m bothering, it’s not like I’m ever going to need to know the quadratic formula after GCSEs”.  Many parents will sympathise! After all, there comes a point in secondary school where a lot of us reach the limits of being able to help out with homework – the vast majority of us won’t have tackled things like simultaneous equations since our own school days. But Maths is a subject like any other, so surely it can’t be down to some quirk in genetic make-up that makes some students succeed while others flounder.   In this episode, we are looking at Maths, why it seems to polarise students and what can be done to help them. This week, The Study Buddy's ( founder, Nathan McGurl is joined by Dani Quinn ( . Dani is the Network Lead for Secondary Maths at the Ark Schools ( – a network of 38 schools across the UK. And previously head of Maths at Michaela for 5 years, the school made the best progress in Maths GCSE results in the country. As an educator, she says she has an unfettered enthusiasm for teaching maths to teenagers. Dani also blogs ( about techniques and approaches to teaching maths in the classroom. Dani explores the role of motivation and the impact that parents can have on developing a student's intrinsic desire to push ahead. She also shares many practical and easy-to-follow tips to help support teens approaching exams. Importantly these are ways of supporting that allow for the fact that most of us haven't factorised anything for years! For more information about The Study Buddy's approach to time management and study skills visit (   Produced by Pineapple Audio Productions ( .
  1. 14: Making Maths Count: Overcoming barriers to master Maths GCSE
  2. 13: Taking Stock of the Mock: What dry run exams are – and are not – good for.
  3. 12: Revising Boys: A look at why it is [typically] difficult to get boys to study
  4. 11: The Study Trinity: Fostering great relationships between teachers, parents, and students
  5. 10: English Proper: The importance of revising for English GCSEs

Our students have talked to us about their concerns for this coming GCSE year. In this episode Nathan McGurl – founder of The Study Buddy – discusses those with Charles Fillingham – Headmaster at Francis Holland School – and Kevin Aires – founder of September Ready Go.