Statement of Intent
Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and many forms of employment. It is our intention to give all students the confidence to use mathematics and remove any stigma associated with it. Through problem solving, all students will build resilience and mathematical fluency. Within the teaching of challenging lessons, all students will overcome any fear of getting things wrong and be able to learn from their mistakes. All students will gain 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.
The Maths GCSE covers 5 topic areas; “Number”, “Algebra”, “Geometry & Measures”, “Statistics & Probability”, “Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change”. In years 7 & 8 we cover the core skills in these topics so that students are ready to be extended further in years 9-11 to prepare for their GCSE. To avoid misconceptions, and deepen understanding of the application of maths, in years 7 & 8 we group concepts with the appropriate core skills, e.g. we cover perimeter when we are focussing on adding and subtraction, and we cover area when we are focussing on multiplication and division. For GCSE, students follow either the Higher or Foundation syllabus from year 9 based on what is most suitable for them. For higher Foundation students we extend with higher topics so that we are not limiting them to the Foundation tier from year 9.
The topics areas are not taught in isolation. The student’s mathematical understanding of each topic is transferable across other topics. The schema of number is used throughout and therefore strengthened by being used in different situations. Algebra is used as a tool for problem solving and problem-solving questions link topic areas. Skills and understanding in one topic help support the learning of new skills in other topics and students learn to adapt to solve problems they have never seen before. In turn these new topics strengthen the skills, knowledge, understanding and application of maths.
Topic 1: Number:
Being numerate is an advantage for students for the rest of their lives. Students come from primary school with differing levels of numerical fluency in written and mental methods, fractions, decimals, percentages, negative numbers, factors and multiples. Years 7 and 8 have been structured by linking numerical skills to deepen understanding, and address any misconceptions so that their number skills are fluent, and any gaps in their knowledge are filled, before they embark on the GCSE course. They are then able to access these skills to underpin more complicated problems. From year 9 these skills are extended further and students are taught about surds, indices and standard form to enable them to tackle questions in the Edexcel GCSE at either Higher or Foundation level.
Topic 2: Algebra:
Algebra is the language of maths and as such is useful to understand for any students wishing to progress in mathematical or scientific areas. Many students start in year 7 with limited knowledge of Algebra. In years 7 and 8 we cover the basics in order to establish fluency and address any misconceptions. We then extend their skills to cover substitution, expanding brackets, factorising, solving equations and sequences. In years 9 to 11 we build on these skills and teach students expanding double brackets, factorising quadratics and solving quadratics preparing them for the Edexcel GCSE at either Higher or Foundation level.
Topic 3: Geometry & Measure:
Understanding measure is essential in life as well as being necessary for many different types of careers from engineering to construction. In years 7 and 8 students study area and perimeter of 2D shapes, including circles, and surface area and volume of 3D shapes. They build on their knowledge of angles to include properties of triangles and polygons. They develop their skills with mathematical tools, ie protractors and compasses. In years 9 to 11 these topics are further developed and students are also taught transformations, constructions, loci, Pythagoras’ theorem, trigonometry, congruency and similarity as required for the Edexcel GCSE at either Higher or Foundation level.
Topic 4: Statistics & Probability:
The ability to analyse and interpret data is a useful skill in many jobs, or even just to understand newspaper articles or to follow the results of a sports team. In years 7 and 8 students extend their basic knowledge of statistics to include all 3 averages (including from frequency tables), further statistical diagrams (including stem and leaf diagrams and pie charts), planning a statistical investigation, collecting data, interpreting data and comparing distributions. Students are taught the basics of probability. In years 9 to 11 these skills are reinforced and extended to include scatter graphs and correlation, histograms, and cumulative frequency to enable students to tackle questions in the Edexcel GCSE at either Higher or Foundation level.
Topic 5: Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change:
Ratio, along with number, is a useful skill that is used throughout life from adapting a recipe when cooking, mixing mortar for brick laying, medicines, pricing in shops, finance, etc. It is interleaved into all topic areas and examined heavily in the GCSE. In years 7 and 8 students are taught the basics of ratio and direct proportion. This is then extended in years 9 to 11 to include rates of change, more complicated types of proportion (squared, inverse, squared inverse, etc) and problem-solving questions involving ratio across all topics.