Given the commonly accepted view that having a mathematically well-educated populace is strategically important, there is considerable international interest in raising attainment, and increasing participation, in post-compulsory mathematics education. In this article I develop multi-level models using datasets from the UK Department for Education’s National Pupil Database (NPD) in order to explore 1) school effects upon student progress in mathematics from age 11-16 in England, and 2) student participation in advanced level mathematics over the following two years. These analyses highlight between-school variation in the difference between mathematical and general academic progress. Furthermore, the between–school differences in post-compulsory mathematics participation are large. Importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that schools/departments with higher ‘contextual value added’ from 11-16, a key measure in government accountability processes in England, are also more effective in recruiting and retaining students in post-16 advanced mathematics courses.