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Raising attainment of middle-lower attainment GCSE studentsYear 11 students throughout England are currently attending ‘'intervention’' classes designed to raise their mathematics attainment ahead of their GCSE examinations, using methods of instruction that seem to have proven unsuccessful the first time they were taught concepts, and then again, unsuccessfully, in subsequent lessons. This paper reports on a study of one class of lower to middle attaining Year 11 GCSE students who have been taught algebraic concepts using multiple representations and using teaching designed to allow them to reason from key known facts. Qualitative data from lesson observation, student and teacher interviews and students’ work is analysed to begin to construct a narrative interpretation of this small-scale classroom enquiry. This analysis demonstrates some promising outcomes in terms of pupils’ perceptions of learning mathematics and their use of iconic representations of concepts.