The Mathematics Department aims to help students develop confidence and acquire the essential skills of mathematics upon which numeracy depends, which will be needed for the study of other subjects and is key in everyday life. We also hope to give students an insight into many more of the abstract mathematical ideas and develop an understanding of the concepts and principles of mathematical reasoning and processes which underpin the developments in Science, Engineering & Technology which we all enjoy the benefits of in our modern lives. Mathematics is a challenging and rewarding subject and there will be plenty of opportunity to appreciate and enjoy mathematics and gain familiarity with a wide range of mathematical topics:
Buzz Phrases & Basic Statistics
To emphasise the importance of Mathematics here are some harrowing statistics with regards to British mathematics education, highlighting the need as a nation for us to improve if we wish to prosper economically.
Pisa 2010 puts Britain at 25th out of 34th for Mathematics knowledge
A recent study showed that adults with GCSE Maths earn on average £8,000 more than those without.
As such we feel it critical to stive for outstanding performance from students in this subject.
Mathematics is taught in ability sets that are organised as a result of pupils’ performance in the Key Stage tests and our own internal assessments. In addition, we measure attainment at the point of entry such that the progress of students is monitored according to their current ability as well as historical. Students can move up and down teaching groups on academic grounds if necessary. At the end of the Key Stage we will have a great deal of information about the student’s ability and in consultation with pupil and parents we will be able to select the best tier of entry to maximise their chance of success in the next Key Stage.
At KS3 all students study four main strands in mathematics – Number & Calculating, Algebra, Geometry & Measure as well as Statistics. The curriculum is supported by excellent materials including course books, workbooks and ICT packages as well as many engaging and enjoyable resources incorporating many of the necessary skills required to develop good numerical & mathematical proficiency.
All students in KS3 follow a structured curriculum in Mathematics where they will learn a variety of skills across the four strands. All students follow a ‘Minimum 3 Levels Progress’ program in the school which tracks their ability across the keystages and attempts to ensure they make what governmental policy has deemed to be a suitable expected improvement between primary school exit & entry to further education or a working life. As well as knowledge based mathematics, we attempt to enhance higher order thinking skills, mathematical understanding and ICT skills to encourage their overall development .
At Key Stage 4, students will follow the Edexcel Mathematics (Linear) syllabus (IMA0F/H) from June 2013.
The course incorporates a full range of topics across the previously described strands of Mathematics with elements of problem solving to challenge the students as well as prepare them for mathematical thinking in later life.
Links to Edexcel info.
As of June 2014, all examinations at GCSE will require to be undertaken as terminal or Linear assessments. That being a final exam (or set of exams) after a period of study (usually 2 years at GCSE). The mathematics department commence this program of study in Y9 as the ‘Minimum 3 Levels Progress’ initiative is not tied to a particular Key Stage & is Linear in structure. The current government is undertaking reforms of the KS3 & KS4 curricula at the time of writing & as such, more information will be posted as it is known.
For current students already commenced on a course, a number of historical specifications will continue. These include the Linked Pair Pilot Study specifications for Methods in Mathematics & Applications of Mathematics. Both of these are studied simultaneously and offer students a number of alternative approaches to their GCSE qualification. Each is a whole GCSE and as such, if both are attained, the student benefits from the dual nature of the award. These specifications are being trialed until 2016 where after the government will legislate whether they will continue. Reasoning for their inception is to give parity to Mathematics with the potential of a double award, similarly to English & Science GCSE qualifications.
For all external examinations, the content of the of the question paper mirrors the following guidelines
(Overall Weighting of AOs, % = 50-60, New weighting as of 2017, % = 35-45 with at least 40% AO1 marks – 14-18% overall marks – contained within questions assessing AO2/3)
(Overall Weighting of AOs, % = 15-25, New weighting as of 2017, % = 30-40)
(Overall Weighting of AOs, % = 20-30, New weighting as of 2017, % = 20-30)
How do we practise these skills?
From the table above, the GSCE reform clearly aims to enhance students’ capability in mathematical problem solving.
At the end of each unit of work all students in Key Stage 3 will be assessed, however, each half term, a wider holistic assessment is used to derive extensive knowledge of each student’s personal areas of strength & where gaps in understanding exist. This is used by the teaching staff to plan for progress across all abilities. This is described in detail in the ‘Minimum 3 Levels Progress Guide’.
Link to ‘3 Levels Progress’ Doc.
How will I know how I am doing?
Each half term pupils will be given an assessment. Each assessment sets challenges in all areas of the syllabus to be covered at a particular level/grade. In order for a pupil to move to the next level they must first show they are fully competent at a level by registering 2 top tier scores for a particular grade (e.g. 7A/C1). In order to focus independent study and enhance progress in between half-termly assessments each pupil is provided with a detailed assessment profile which highlights the pupils’ strengths and weaknesses. The assessment profile provides a personalised set of topics that require further attention these are accessed via the school’s mymaths platform. The students complete the advised revision exercises prior to the next assessment in the hope of closing the gaps in the weaker areas of their learning. The number of tasks requested and completed is monitored by the classroom teacher. To support the students MyMaths encompasses a support lesson for every topic that can be undertaken prior to completing the revision tasks. In addition the department’s website (Fronter VLE) houses a complete electronic text book which can be used for additional reference/exemplar modeled work.
Upon completing each half termly assessment the students’ profiles are updated to give a comprehensive, personalised record of topics at the working level/grade where learning is considered consolidated or requiring intervention. An example of this is given here. This sheet also records targeting information for the students and homework completion statistics.
As described, from each student’s detailed assessment profile, we generate a personalised set of topics that focus the student on areas of the syllabus that require more attention. This is our ‘Wave 1’ intervention. This is a program the student follows independently between half-termly assessments via our MyMaths platform. If completed successfully, the student’s performance in the next assessment should be improved. For students that do not enhance their progress via this route, we move to ‘Wave 2’ whereby a dedicated intervention tutor will spend a period of time with the student, working on areas of concern in order to bring their attainment in line with expectations. The progress chart available in the assessment policy section of the school’s website details a number of examples of progress & what is expected of each student with regards to their exit from KS2 & transition through KS3.
Where possible the mathematics department endeavour to personalise learning for all pupils. Support and extension tasks are built into the Program of Study (PoS) as standard.
Homework is set routinely on a weekly basis and follows the guidelines below:
KS3: 1 piece of homework per week (30 mins)
KS4: 1 piece of homework per week (up to 1 hour)
Students successfully completing their mathematics course in Year 10 can study for an additional GCSE in Statistics. This course utilises the skills they have gained in Data Handling within the Mathematics GCSE and expands this to incorporate additional statistical techniques as well as higher order statistics not studied within the Mathematics syllabus. The course is studied for one year and is structured to allow the students to undertake a piece of investigative work that concludes in the production of a report which is submitted as the Controlled Assessment portion of the examination, worth 20% of the total marks. The remaining 80% is available via a single, 2hr examination. This course can be undertaken at Higher of Foundation tier and is recommended for any student intending to follow up at A-Level in Mathematics or any A-Level with a heavy weighting of analytical techniques within it e.g. Psychology.
Students successfully completing their mathematics course in Year 10 & intending to continue their mathematics studies to A-Level, can study for an additional qualification known as a Free Standing Qualification in Mathematics [FSMQ]. This is a Level 3 qualification and is designed as an introduction to A-Level Mathematics whereby the students are exposed to a number of the strands of mathematics that they will be required to study in Y12/13. The course is structured in 4 main strands: Number Theory, Algebraic Techniques, Geometrical Techniques & Calculus. In each section, the course also introduces the student to the applied mathematics associated with that particular strand as would be seen in the full A-Level. This course is intended for students attaining a top grade at GCSE.
Year 7 Pupil/Parent Mathematics Workshop
During the autumn term the department runs a 2-hour workshop for year 7 pupils and their parents. The workshop provides an opportunity for parents to work with year 7 pupils on a range of enjoyable mathematical activities, including games and puzzles. It also gives parents a chance to meet your child’s mathematics teacher and get to know some of the approaches and resources that we use in the mathematics department. Above all, though, the workshop aims to demonstrate some enjoyable approaches to the subject and to prove that mathematics can be fun!
UKMT (United Kingdom Mathematics Trust)
The department engages in a number of annual competitions organized by the UKMT whereby a range of students undertake a ‘Mathematics Challenge’ paper. Prizes are offered with enhancement to subsequent rounds at National level for top performing students. In addition, we collaborate closely with Primary School Mathematics clusters in the area to promote & support Mathematics teaching and these cluster schools take part in the competitions alongside Bedale High School students. The school also participates in external events run by the trust, most recently at Macmillan College, Middlesbrough.
Other Investigative Competitions
The school collaborates with the Mathematics departments of the Universities of Sheffield & Portsmouth in their regular investigative competitions which are run nationally to encourage mathematical thinking.
Y9 Mathematics Challenge, Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College, Darlington
A team event takes place each year at the college with Y9s from Bedale High School competing. Our recent performances in these events have been very encouraging with a 2nd & two 3rd places in the last 3 years.
The RHS Harlow Carr Mathematics Trail is a regular feature of our trip selection, whereby clues are followed within the garden, incorporating a huge range of mathematical skills which challenge the students in problem solving ability.
The University of Teesside annually organises a series of Mathematical lectures with guest speakers from the world of Mathematics, Science & Engineering. This attempts to bring mathematics to life and demonstrate its importance as a subject in all walks of life & its huge variety of applications.
BBC Bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/maths/
Maths is fun www.mathsisfun.com
Mr Barton Maths www.mrbartonmaths.com
Waldo Maths (Video section) http://www.waldomaths.com/videos.jsp
Nrich Maths http://nrich.maths.org
Use of ICT
As of September 2013 the Maths department endeavours to provide routine access to mathematical software packages within lessons. Most software programs the department uses are freely available on the internet.
-NYCC Fronter Electronic GCSE text book, past papers and mark schemes available (this will change in future as NYCC change VLE supplier)
– Geogebra http://www.geogebra.org