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Mathematics

Overview

Mathematics contributes to society and to the development and functioning of individuals within it. It is useful in many other areas of learning, in everyday life and at work. Its language and symbolism provide a precise and efficient means of communication. It contributes to the development of an individual’s autonomy by enabling that person to make more objective decisions. It can be a source of aesthetic pleasure, creative stimulation and intellectual challenge.

Aims

The aims of the Mathematics department are to enable each student to

  • experience a wide range of mathematical activities
  • gain an insight into the precision, power and aesthetic qualities of mathematics
  • understand the mathematics they use
  • be able to apply the mathematics they learn
  • achieve their potential in mathematics

Objectives

  • To develop the student’s appreciation and enjoyment of mathematics
  • To develop their mathematical knowledge and oral, written and practical skills
  • To solve problems, present the solutions clearly, check and interpret results
  • To develop a feel for number, carry out calculations and understand the significance of the results
  • To appreciate patterns and relationships in mathematics
  • To acquire a foundation appropriate to future study of mathematics and other disciplines
  • To analyse a problem and select a suitable strategy to obtain its solution.
  • To make logical deductions from given mathematical data
  • To perform calculations by suitable methods
  • To recognise and use spatial relationships in two and three dimensions
  • To carry out practical and investigational work

These are to be achieved through the scheme of work and policies and practices of the mathematics department. In particular each unit of work will have three phases:

  • Exploring ideas through activities such as games, investigations and practical work
  • Learning to apply them to solving problems through group work, homework, investigations and exercises through understanding
  • Consolidating understanding, skills and techniques through the mathematically correct presentation of solutions and reinforcement on a daily, weekly and monthly basis

At KS3 the emphasis will be more on the first two phases and at KS4 there will necessarily be greater emphasis on the third phase. At each Key Stage all three will, however, be addressed.

Key Stage 3

Mathematics is a compulsory subject at KS3. There are five one hundred minute lessons per fortnight and students are expected to complete two homeworks per fortnight, sometimes on MyMaths: www.Mymaths.co.uk. This gives students instant feedback on what they have done and enables them both to consult a lesson on that topic and to repeat the homework in order to improve their standard.

In mathematics students are set in classes by ability from the beginning of Year 7. This allows us to deliver the appropriate level of challenge and support. 

The scheme of work for Maths has several strands: number and algebra; geometry; data; mathematical processes and applications. The last strand is embedded in work throughout the other three as it deals with mathematical thinking and the ability to solve problems. We focus on teaching for understanding which means that we develop the underlying concepts rather than promoting a style which relies on ‘recipes’ for completing each type of problem. This leads to a more flexible approach which can better be applied to solving real-life problems.

A variety of problems and other rich tasks are tackled in lessons during each topic, each topic last between two and three weeks in general, and most topics have an assessment activity towards the end. This is marked and given a National Curriculum level together with some feedback which indicates how the student may progress. During the year students may receive a more substantial test, these will assess students broader understanding of the subject and together with evidence from lessons, homework and other assessments, may trigger a change of set in order that the student may progress more appropriately.

Students will also have the opportunity to take part in the UK maths challenge and the World Maths Day event.

Key Stage 4

Mathematics is a compulsory subject at KS4. There are four one hundred minute lessons per fortnight with a minimum of two homeworks set per fortnight.

A variety of problems and other rich tasks are tackled in lessons during each topic, which lasts between two and three weeks, with an assessment at the end. This is marked and given a GCSE grade together with some feedback which indicates how the student may progress. At the end of each term students are given a more substantial assessment which covers the work done that term. Any of these assessments may trigger some intervention work, usually in the form of after school support, in order to support the students in achieving their full potential in mathematics.

Students in sets 2 to 4 are entered for their GCSE in November of Year 11 to give them an opportunity to secure their target grade early. In preparation for this there is an extensive revision programme with lessons every Wednesday from 2.45pm to 4pm from September and revision sessions taking place over the October half term.

GCSE Mathematics now places a renewed emphasis on problem-solving, functionality and mathematical thinking. There is a much greater emphasis in examinations on the assessment of applying mathematics and using mathematics to solve problems, and some questions will be set in contexts that students should be expected to deal with in the real world. Students might be asked to answer questions on, for instance, decorating a room or designing a garden; or perhaps paying bills or sorting out rotas for shop staff.
Questions will also require students to be able to communicate the mathematics they have applied (this is called Quality of Written Communication, QWC, which is compulsory for all GCSE examinations). This may involve, for example, giving a reason for an answer, correctly setting out a proof or accurately marking up a statistical diagram. About 5% of marks in the examination will be given over to QWC.
The GCSE will be entirely assessed by written examination, which means that no coursework will be expected from any student. The content of GCSE Mathematics has been grouped into the topic areas of Number, Algebra, Geometry, Measures, Statistics and Probability.

The course followed is the Edexcel Specification A which is a linear GCSE - this means that all the examinations are taken at the end of the course (usually, but not always, at the end of Year 11) and any part of the specification can be tested on any paper. No calculators are allowed for paper 1.

Key Stage 5

Mathematics is an optional subject at KS5. There are six one hundred minute lessons per fortnight in year 12 and five one hundred minute lessons per fortnight in year 13. Homework tasks are set per topic, using the MEI website resources. This gives students instant feedback on what they have done and enables them both to consult notes on that topic and to repeat the homework in order to improve their standard.

We offer “A” level Mathematics which includes work on the core ideas of algebra, trigonometry and calculus as well as modules on Statistics. The Statistics exams are taken in January and the Core modules, four of them, are taken in June.
The exam board is OCR and we do the MEI syllabus.

We also offer “A” level Further Maths which includes work on the core ideas of matrices and complex numbers as well as modules in Decision maths, Numerical methods and Mechanics. The Decision and Numerical methods exams are taken in January and the rest in June. The exam board is OCR and we do the MEI syllabus.

For those who feel A level Mathematics will prove too challenging we offer A level Use of Mathematics which includes work on algebra, calculus, statistics and decision maths as well as a comprehension paper and a portfolio of two coursework tasks.
The exam board is AQA.

All three A levels can be pursued to AS level only if appropriate.