Welcome to the Mathematics Department
Meet Our Staff
- Mr M Davidson (Head of Department)
- Mr A Nugent (2nd in Department)
- Mrs P Capps-Jenner (KS3 Co-ordinator)
- Mr A Abernethy
- Mrs S Daniels (AHT)
- Mrs B Johnson
- Miss S Jones
- Miss R Lamb
- Mr S Ndlovu
- Mr T Nelson
- Mr W Shanks
Aims and Objectives of the Department
- The maths department aims to provide every student with the opportunity to master the fundamentals of number in order that they become abstract thinkers and independent problem solvers. We work closely with other faculties in the school to ensure that skills, knowledge and vocabulary are widely transferable and consistent.
- Our curriculum ensures that pupils understand basic concepts thoroughly and then builds on these skills throughout the year so that they gain a cumulative knowledge. We spend longer on topics so that pupils become fluent in them.
- Through maths mastery, problem-solving is integrated into every topic we study at KS3. Pupils of all standards are required to select, understand and apply the relevant mathematical principle. They represent concepts with mathematical models, objects and pictures, and by making connections between different representations. This gives them the confidence, resilience and ability to tackle any problem rather than repeating routines without grasping the principles. These skills become invaluable as students’ progress to meet the demands of an increasingly rigorous GCSE curriculum.
Key Stage 3
- All pupils follow the National Curriculum for mathematics. Pupils are set according to ability based on their Key Stage 2 SATs score. During the first term in year 7 teachers regularly assess and discuss the ability of students to ensure they are in the correct sets, also making use of the KS2 QLA information to target their teaching to weaknesses they may have from primary school. There is a strong emphasis on developing mathematical knowledge and deeper understanding through mastery. The pupils are encouraged to appreciate the interconnectedness of the subject by building strong foundations with particular regard to number, ratio and proportion, geometry, and algebra.
- Deeper understanding is achieved through tackling fewer topics but with greater depth and problem solving. This is systematically incorporated into the essence of every lesson, supported by the acclaimed ‘White Rose’ Scheme of Work. The ‘White Rose’ is also used in many of the feeder primary schools and this aids with the transition for Year 6 into 7 students who are familiar with the format of lessons.
- At KS3 we have developed a cumulative curriculum centred on building a deeper understanding and supporting students to master key skills in mathematics. This has been informed by collaboration with other schools in the community and research of best practice in Singapore and elsewhere. At the heart of our approach, we believe that students must be given the time to understand topics through exploration and investigation before moving on to the next. We spend a long time deepening understanding, rather than accelerating through topics.
The topics taught throughout the year vary by set but all classes will learn about:
- Place value and calculations with number
- Expressions, functions and formulae
- Graphs and coordinate geometry
- Analysing and displaying data
- Number properties
- Ratio and proportion
- Decimals and measures
- Angles and lines
- Measuring and shapes
- Fractions, decimals and percentages
- During KS3 there is a strong emphasis on problem solving and linking seemingly unconnected topics. Rather than being squeezed in at the end of a lesson, a stand-alone topic or extension task, problem-solving becomes central to the teaching. As such the majority of the tasks and activities we have developed focus on taking an exploratory, problem-solving approach to mathematics.
- Running alongside KS3 mathematics is the Catch-Up programme which is for all students who achieve below 100 in their Key Stage 2 SATs. This is monitored closely by the Key Stage 3 co-ordinator and has shown measurable impact for students. QLA information is used to track the progress students have made since the end of Year 6.
- Throughout all years in Key Stage 3 pupils will sit assessments at the end of each topic of work including problem solving activities. Good practice is shared on a regular basis so that students have access to the wealth of expertise and experience each teacher brings to the department.
Key Stage 3 - Most Able
The department is extremely proud of the provision for the most able pupils in Key Stage 3 and the scholarship programme. Just a few highlights of the programme are listed below
- Lunch-time club
- Saturday morning University Master-classes
- UKMT Challenge
- MEM Challenge
- AS Creatives maths roadshow events
- Mathemagician visit
- Dragon’s Den Maths Challenge
Key Stage 4
- In KS4 students are increasingly encouraged to develop good patterns of study and independent learning. Classroom work focuses on guiding students to reach their full potential in mathematics. All students follow the National Curriculum for mathematics. All pupils are entered for GCSE mathematics at the end of year 11, they follow the Pearson 1MA1course which involves pupils sitting one non-calculator paper and two calculator papers, all 1 hour and 30 minutes each. This enables students following the Higher programme of study to achieve a grade 9 – 4, whilst the pupils following the Foundation programme of study can obtain a grade 5 – 1.
- The students' mathematics teachers will help them decide which route they should take based on their results during Key Stage 3 assessments, their teacher assessments, their understanding of topics and problem solving skills.
- Students' will be regularly assessed throughout years 10 & 11 and a final decision on the tier of entry will not be made until the spring of year 11.
Key Stage 4 - Most Able
- All students targeted a 7 or above at GCSE will be encouraged to attend extra classes after school, during school holidays and on Saturday mornings. The sessions are delivered by their class teacher who knows each student’s individual strengths and areas for development.
- Building on the success at Key Stage 3, the most able students continue to benefit from activities and competitions such as the UKMT & MEM Challenges.
Key Stage 5
- All students follow the Pearson A-Level course. At the end of year 13, there are three 2 hour written examinations. The specification code is 9MA0.
- Entry requirements to sit A-Level maths are currently set at a minimum of grade 6 in GCSE mathematics. However, since a significant number of the cohort are from different schools there is an induction period of four weeks which consists of three 100 minute lessons. During this time students study a bridging unit, receive support from staff, attend after school lessons and sit a rigorous assessment to judge if they have the right attitude and aptitude for the subject. This demanding work rate is expected to continue throughout the remainder of the course.
Key Stage 5 - Most Able
- Most able students are entered into various competitions and courses to help them progress further in mathematics. They take part in:
- Step courses
- Year 12 problem solving conference with the FMSP
- Year 13 problem solving conference with the FMSP
- Mathematics lectures from professors through FMSP
Homework / After School
- Homework is central to the students learning, understanding and mastery of mathematics. Homework is set at KS3 and KS4 a minimum of once per week. The homework is set at the discretion of the classroom teacher which will vary depending on the age and ability of the students. Homework at KS5 is set every lesson and is expected back the following lesson. KS5 students are also expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study.
Examples of homework are:
- Written homework
- Revision – both directed and independent revision (including online work using sites such as Corbettmaths)
- Reflection homework (going over corrections and looking at past homework)
- Research homework
- Learning homework
- Problem solving activities
- Extension tasks
- Homework at KS5 is primarily concerned with consolidating and extending the learning in the classroom. However, when introducing new topics, the students are encouraged to use their research skills gained in Key Stages 3 and 4 to research a topic before they begin.
- At all Key Stages many students will complete extra maths homework by themselves. This is strongly encouraged and is always marked with appropriate feedback given to students.
- All mathematics staff run revision lessons in their own time and all students, regardless of age and ability, are encouraged to attend. However, in the lead up to exams there is a greater emphasis on examination classes. The revision classes consist not only of directed teaching but guidance on revision techniques, problem solving, mini investigations and group work. Teachers will often share classes and mixed ability activities are not uncommon.
- Revision classes for examination classes take place after school, during school holidays and weekends.
- The department has numerous puzzle days and takes part in nationally organised events such as the NSPCC Number Day, World Number Day and Pi Day. However, developing an understanding of mathematics and students’ ability to solve problems both independently and within a team are the main motivational force for their enjoyment of the subject and their academic success. It is our belief as a department that the students are both inspired and motivated on a daily basis by the sheer enthusiasm of their teacher. Activities that occur on a day to day basis are card sorts, mini whiteboard exercises, puzzles and group work.
- The department also has excellent links with local feeder primary schools, local universities, the further maths support network and local businesses including Santander and Barclays.