The Mathematics Department at the Senior School is made up of 6 talented and dedicated specialists, all who teach up to A Level. We are very approachable and students are encouraged to seek out their particular teacher if they need help or clarification. Maths Clinic is also held twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes from 12.50 until 1.25pm. A member of the maths department staff is always available at these clinics and students are encouraged to attend if they need help, support, an opportunity to catch up on missed work or if they just want a quiet place to do some maths work.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
As a result of entrance examination indicators, pupils are placed in initial sets when they enter Year 7, but are closely monitored in their first term to allow changes if necessary. There are formal assessments in December and June, so to facilitate ease of movement all classes follow the same curriculum. Every pupil has a personal profile which is started when a girl enters the school; this allows us to identify the level each student is working at, and to ensure that she fulfils her potential in this subject.
In Year 8 all students take part in a maths practical day off site. The purpose of this is to encourage the pupils to look for maths outside the classroom and to realise that maths is essential in many different areas and can be found in the most unexpected places. In addition to this all years have the opportunity to take part in cross curricular projects, they take part in competitions run by the UK Maths Trust and in Year 9 a group of students take part in Maths Masterclasses. An Enrichment Group meets weekly to problem solve and discuss areas of mathematics of interest to them as well as explore areas of mathematics outside the curriculum.
Students begin their GCSE at the start of Year 9.
Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
During Years 10 and 11 the students follow the GCSE linear specification from the AQA board at either Higher or Foundation level. All girls are assessed regularly to monitor progress and ensure they are on target and following the correct path.
The GCSE Specification we follow is AQA Mathematics Linear 8300 and consists of three papers taken at the end of Year 11, one calculator and two non-calculator papers. Further details of the specification can be found at http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/mathematics/gcse/mathematics-8300/specification-at-a-glance
Girls in the top set are invited in Year 11 to study for the AQA Certificate Level 2 Further Mathematics free standing qualification. Details of this specification is found at http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/mathematics/aqa-certificate/further-mathematics-8360 and introduces the girls to topics that will be met at A Level.
If girls opt to study maths at AS or A Level, they are encouraged to work through the topics found at http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mepres/step-up/default.htm before they start in Year 12.
Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)
- To provide a stimulating, motivating course in Mathematics
- To develop an understanding of Mathematics and Mathematical processes in a way that promotes confidence and fosters enjoyment.
- To promote an awareness of the relevance of Mathematics in other fields of study and in society today.
- To develop skills in logical reasoning and problem solving through both individual and group study.
AS Mathematics comprises 3 AS Modules.
The two Pure Maths Modules Pure Core 1 and Pure Core 2 are compulsory, leaving a choice for the third Application Module.
Pure Mathematics: (Compulsory). This extends your knowledge from GCSE in familiar areas such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry and introduces new topics such as calculus, functions, series and logarithms
Statistics: This again extends your knowledge from GCSE including correlation, regression and probability, but it also introduces two of the most important distributions in Statistics; the Binomial Distribution and the Normal Distribution.
Mechanics: This is an area of Mathematics which is not studied lower down the school, but which supplements the study of Physics, looking at areas such as forces acting on bodies and the motion of particles.
Decision Maths: This is a course totally different from any area of Maths you have studied before. It focuses on decision making processes that occur in business and commerce. You will use methods such as Linear Programming and Critical Path Analysis to solve Packaging problems and Shortest Route problems.
In any one year the Maths Department is able to offer any two of the above Application Modules, depending on the preference of the students.
A2 Mathematics follows a similar format to the AS, comprising of 3 Modules.
The two Pure Maths Modules Pure Core 3 and Pure Core 4 are again compulsory, leaving a choice for the third Application Module.
The Student may choose to continue studying the same Application at A2 level or she may choose a different Application at AS level. It is therefore possible to achieve an A Level in Mathematics by completing 4 AS Modules and 2 A2 Modules.
All modules are assessed by examination only (there is no coursework) at either the end of year 12 or year 13. All questions are compulsory and candidates are allowed to use a graphical calculator in all examinations except Core 1, which is a non-calculator paper.
- Students require the minimum of an A in GCSE Mathematics to study Mathematics at AS or A level.
- An enjoyment of Mathematics is essential.
Teaching will take place in small groups and students will be expected to practise techniques and study independently throughout the course. In certain options, there may be shared teaching, eg one teacher will take you for the Pure Maths and another for your chosen Application.
Careers and Support Subjects
Why choose Mathematics? Mathematics combines well with both Sciences and Humanities. In addition to the obvious links with engineering, architecture medicine and other science based subjects, it also has an essential role in courses such as Economics and other Business related degrees. Over recent years there has been a steady increase in university courses containing some elements of Maths and Statistics for analysing data.
In certain modules a graphical calculator will be required. These can be purchased or hired from school.
At AS and A2, Mathematics is a challenging, enjoyable subject that allows the student to develop logical thought processes as well as giving training in organisational and analytical techniques. There are very few areas of life where Mathematics cannot be of value.
Progression to A2 is contingent on achieving grade C or above at AS Level and behaviour, attendance and punctuality records will also be taken into consideration.