What do students study in Maths?
Mathematics is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
In years 7 and 8 whilst covering the appropriate topics in number, ratio and proportion, algebra, geometry and measure and statistics, we aim for all pupils to build their confidence in the use of mathematical principles and to develop their mathematical thinking. We endeavour to help make the transition from primary to secondary school as smooth as possible. Learning will be a continuous process, building on knowledge gained during KS2 but it will be more challenging and the students are expected to be working more independently. Within all topics the students will be studying, they will be developing ‘mathematical processing’ skills, which includes reasoning, analysis and evaluation. During the year there will be opportunities for pupils to use ICT to aid their study of mathematics.
In year 9 pupils start their three year GCSE course. This is to prepare them for the wider breadth of topics and the deeper understanding needed for the new GCSE exam.
In Key Stage Four, students continue working towards their Mathematics GCSE at a tier appropriate to them. Students will either study the higher or foundation tier. As in Key Stage Three students study Number, Algebra, Statistics, Handling Data and Shape, Space and Measure. We have a strong focus on problem solving, as this makes up a large proportion of the Maths GCSE examination.
We also offer Further Maths GCSE to students aiming for grade 7+ in Maths. This course allows students to develop their mathematical understanding and will assist students to get the higher grades and help bridge towards those considering A-Level Maths.
How are students assessed in Maths?
Every student is assessed formally at the end of each half term. After each assessment, students are required to review their own progress and set themselves clear next steps. Teachers also monitor students work in their exercise books, learning journals and homework books looking for key misconceptions that may occur and planning intervention to support progress.
At the end of Year 11 students sit their GCSE in Mathematics with Edexcel which consists of three linear examination papers – two calculator and one non-calculator – each lasting one and a half hours.
How often is homework set?
Homework is set weekly and tasks are differentiated according to the class and their ability. Ten questions are set focussing on a particular set of skills which progress through the half term. Once students have mastered the set of questions they move onto the next set of skills. This allows our students to become fluent with key skills needed for their GCSE. It also builds rigour in their written calculations with clear success criteria set and assessed against.
How are students grouped in Maths?
Students are set by ability and this is reviewed regularly. Students’ abilities are judged by their teachers through their classwork, homework and their assessments during the course of the year.
How big are the classes in Maths?
This varies depending on the needs of the students in a year group. Classes can range from groups of 3 through to 30. In our current year 7 group we have two classes of just 20 students and another two classes of 27.
How can I help my child prepare for September?
Encourage your children to be as fluent as possible with their times tables. Encourage them to get involved in the maths around them: familiarisation with money when at the supermarket, paying a bill or out in a restaurant; involved in measuring items whether lengths, weights or capacities – perhaps in the kitchen.
More importantly is to give your child confidence in their ability to learn maths. Having a growth mindset where your child is not afraid to make mistakes is key. Mistakes grow your brain – it is good to struggle and make mistakes.
What support will my child have?
Teachers in the department are skilled at diagnostically identifying key misconceptions and providing opportunities in the classroom to overcome these. We try to make lessons as inclusive as possible by encouraging a range of different tasks in lessons to ensure that all types of learners are supported. We are fortunate to not only have the support of teaching assistants in some classes to support particular students or groups of students but we also have two maths specialist teaching assistants to support students in making the best possible progress. We work closely with the SEN Department and pastoral care to share specific strategies for supporting all students.
We have an excellent programme of support in KS3 where students who have struggled with their maths do extra intervention lessons run by a maths specialist. By offering this specific support early in year 7 and linking it with the work done in lessons we can turn insecure learners into confident budding mathematicians.
We run a lunchtime club for students who want extra support with either their homework or work done in recent lessons and at KS4 we run intervention sessions after school.
How will my child be stretched?
We have high expectations of all our students. Whatever your child’s ability they will be challenged in lessons and we expect students to develop a deep understanding of key concepts. Our 4 and 5 levels progress is above national average which means that we are good at ensuring our brightest students make exceptional progress in mathematics. We have a good tradition of securing A and A* grades at GCSE and many of our students go on to study A’Level Mathematics successfully at sixth form. Indeed one of our past pupils is currently studying Mathematics at Warwick University.
We run a lunch club for those students from years 7 through to 11 who want to be involved in our national maths challenge competition.
Exam board: Pearson (Edexcel)
Qualification: GCSE in Mathematics