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Mathematics

mathsThe Year 7 Mathematics Scheme is, in part, a consolidation and then extension of much of the material covered in the final years at Primary School. We admit students from almost a hundred different Primary Schools, so their experience and current expertise is varied. Our programme is devised to accommodate this type of intake.

We are fully aware that students must continue to practise basic techniques and applications already encountered if they are to remain competent and confident in their use. Our scheme is as flexible as possible and does include prepared material for those students with a high current level of competence in a specific topic.

Naturally, there are many new concepts introduced, particularly in Algebra, Shape and Space and Data Handling. Whilst gaining a solid basis for later studies, the students will encounter a more formal and detailed approach than they may well be accustomed to. The programme of study is, of course, in accordance with the National Curriculum. Throughout each term Teacher Assessment will be undertaken through written and aural tests. The National Curriculum has also reinforced our extensive use of electronic calculators in Mathematics in class and for homework and they are therefore essential items of equipment (please see separate sheet). Extensive use is made of ICT to support learning. Basic number skills, without a calculator, are also maintained.

Most students are entered each year for the national Mathematics Challenge Competitions.

Key Stage 3

Each student is given a textbook for use during the year. Classwork and homework could both be set from the text. Three one-hour periods are spent in mathematics lessons each week. In addition, all classes have two timetabled homeworks each week, rising from 20 minutes each in Year 7 to 30 minutes each in Year 9. Homework is a very important part of the educational process. It provides pupils with an opportunity to re-evaluate and consolidate recently acquired concepts, possibly extending them down an alternative path. Homeworks will generally be in “Homework/Best” books, although sometimes on specialist paper and occasionally in classwork books.

Key Stage 4

Our GCSE sets each follow an Edexcel syllabus. Each student is given a textbook for use during the year. Classwork and homework could both be set from the text. Three one-hour periods are spent in mathematics lessons each week. In addition, all classes have two timetabled homeworks each week, of up to 40 minutes.

Key Stage 5

We offer a variety of A level courses, including Further Mathematics. As with GCSE, the Edexcel examination board is used. Our students can cover mechanics, statistics or decision options depending on other A levels taken and personal preference. Five one-hour periods are spent in mathematics lessons each week for standard A level, while eight one-hour periods are attended by Further Mathematicians.

Extra Curricular Activities

The mathematics department offers a wide variety of extra curricula activities. These include clubs, puzzles and competitions open to all our students. We also enter students in national competitions and are regularly successful.

Highlights

Recent highlights in mathematics include:

  • Individual national finalists in the UK maths Challenge
  • Finalists in the Edge Hill University Maths Challenge for the past five years
  • This year three of our students were placed in the top 100 of the Intermediate Maths Olympiad.

Electronic Calculators

All students will need an electronic calculator for their Mathematics lessons from the beginning of Year 7. They will also be used in other subjects throughout their school life.

We would like all our students to own a Scientific Calculator, having ALL of the following, as a minimum:

  1. Basic functions: +, -, x, , =
  2. Memory functions: M in, MR, M+
  3. Elementary functions:  , x² ,
  4. Trigonometric functions: sin, cos, tan, with inverse.
  5. Logarithmic functions: log, ln, y , e , x

Even during Year 7 it is NOT appropriate that students continue to use a basic calculator (having some of Sections 1 to 3 above) if they already have one. Nor should they buy one of these now as a temporary measure.

We strongly recommend that our students buy Casio calculators. These have been found to be very reliable and it is much more efficient and straightforward for teaching and learning if it is unnecessary to consider a multitude of operating instructions. The following appropriate models are available for under £10, and are sufficiently sophisticated for all year groups:

CASIO    fx83GT and fx85GT

We are currently using around twenty of our own devised “Calculator Sheets” at stages throughout the first three years so that students learn to use their calculators accurately and efficiently.

All calculators must be carefully marked with the owner’s name. It is also important not to lose the instruction booklet because different models do have slightly different operating characteristics, which sometimes do not become evident until students are in the upper part of the school, doing more involved techniques.

We have some calculators available for sale. Orders can also be taken.

Ms C Dennehy (Head of Mathematics)