“It is frequent repetition that produces a natural tendency” Aristotle.
How we teach mathematics is shaped by our main goal: to get each young person to study mathematics on their own. To reach this we try to get the pupils to realise that they can do mathematics and that it is easy. And how is this achieved, you might ask? By repetition.
The aims of repetition are: to increase speed of recall; and improve confidence in solving problems. For those with flair in the subject the repetition achieves the former; with those who struggle it achieves the latter: for those in between it usually achieves both.
Pupils study the GCSE Foundation course from the start of Year 7; when they are ready they move on to the Higher Course - generally in Year 9. So, from day one in the senior school, the whole focus is on the GCSE scheme of work. The Examination board is now EdExcel.
There have been some considerable changes to the Mathematics Curriculum the main one being that the grading system is now 9-1 with a 4 being the old ‘C’ equivalent. However, this change has also brought others with a large focus on Problem solving and the progression to more challenging Mathematical principles is sooner. For example all students will be expected to know topics such as Pythagoras, Trigonometry and Algebra with Higher students having a greater understanding of the Algebraic Principles, Surds, Cosine and Sin rules.
All students follow the new 9-1 GCSE specification from the start of Year 7. So all students will be more prepared for the external final examinations. This allows topics to be repeated on various occasions and allow for retention of knowledge to increase.
Please do not be shocked if you find this challenging. The new GCSE is significantly more challenging.
Through the mathematics content students are taught to work mathematically by:
- Developing fluency
- Reasoning mathematically
- Solving problems
This is done through six strands of subject content. The strands are:
- Ratio, proportion and rates of change
- Geometry and measures
Students in Key Stage 4 complete a GCSE in Mathematics with terminal assessment in Year 11. Currently some students are entered for an alternative qualification of Certificate in Mathematics.
Here is the link to the journey through Mathematics students will go on. You can see the topics getting increasingly difficult and gives an insight to how difficult the new “fat” 9-1 Mathematics GCSE course really is.
Year 7 - 10
All students have work set on Doddle. Students should not panic when they see a lot of tasks. Their class teacher will set the whole curriculum, bespoke to each pupils learning journey, at one time. The deadline will always be the end of the year. Students are expected to complete tasks independently and should attempt the ones they think they can do. After teaching the topic teachers will suggest which ones to attempt to further guide students.
Students will be rewarded for hard work and attempting skills (for every 2 skills attempted they will achieve a positive). Students will also be rewarded for success "going amber and green". There is no limit to how many tasks students do and when their doddle homework is clear they should seek further bespoke tasks from their teacher.
In year 11 students will use the PiXl Maths app. This is exam based practice which will enhance their 1-9 GCSE grade. This can be downloaded onto a smart device or access from the school website and requires flash player. Teachers can set homework through this platform but will not always do this. All year 11 students are expected to login independently and complete challenges without being reminded that there GCSE will significantly increase with practice.
Teachers may also set additional homework with deadlines that are separate from Doddle at any time. It may be regular or one off, however, it is always issued to benefit the students learning.
Books, equipment, materials and resources recommended/needed
We expect all students to have a Pen and pencil – they should bring two of each with them. It is essential in order for learning to take place with minimal disruption. If students do not bring these items the department will issue a class charts equipment negative. As a department we supply the more obscure equipment such as angle measures, compasses and set squares – however it is certainly better to have your own. It would be a huge benefit to students if they had their own calculator – we recommend the Casio Scientific Calculator which is available at most supermarkets and online stores.
Catch up clubs
Every Tuesday (Foundation students) and Wednesday (Higher students) the department will run after school sessions that can consolidate the weeks learning or even press on with something that is new.
Career opportunities supported by this subject
There are a vast number of career opportunities requiring Mathematics qualifications. It should be noted that GCSE Mathematics grade C is required for University courses. Career opportunities ranging from engineering to accountancy, from computing to financial or retail management, from statistical analysis to architecture are all supported by qualifications in Mathematics.