“Being a good mathematician is not about knowing all the answers; it’s about how you behave when you don’t know.”
Our ethos as a department is to foster a love of mathematics, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We often get asked, “when are we going to use this?” and our Head of Department uses the analogy of footballers lifting weights. “They do this to make them fitter and stronger, but they don’t lift those weights on the football pitch“. Similarly, by practising maths you are training your brain to become fitter and stronger, and to be able to apply these critical thinking skills to a variety of other areas.
We aim to offer a good balance of support and challenge, and encourage our students to be independent and resilient learners. We have a track record of outstanding results at both GCSE and A Level and Maths remains a popular choice in the 6th form.
Key Stage 3
Our students are set when they arrive in Year 7, based on information from their SATS, primary schools and an initial assessment. We regularly review these sets to ensure each student is receiving the appropriate level of challenge and support. We base our scheme of work on the White Rose Schemes of Learning, which provide an excellent balance of new topics interleaved with previous work. Sequencing the topics in this way allows students to practice the skills of recall and retention, which are both vital to be successful at mathematics at all levels. An overview of the topics are given below and can be found on the first page of each students’ maths book.
We believe that regular assessment provides a sense of structure for our students, as well as giving us key information about performance in KS3. We have a topic test at the end of each unit, which is always followed by a feedback lesson targeted at the areas where students may not have performed so well. Students can then do some further follow up at home by using the Hegarty Maths website (details below).
Several of our assessments throughout the year are “Open Book Assessments” which we believe are important for a number of reasons – they allow the students to practise being able to extract key information and follow a worked example; they remove the “test anxiety” that some students face; and they require students to continuously keep up with their book polishing to ensure their notes are in good order.
All of these assessments are kept in an assessment folder in the school. This is to ensure that no assessments are mislaid. This folder is given to the students towards the end of year to use as a revision pack in preparation for their End of Year Exams.
We subscribe to Hegarty Maths and use this as the basis for home learning at KS3. Students are set a minimum of 1 task per week and this consists of:
- Students watching a video and taking notes into their books
- Students trying the online quiz attached to the video
- Students reflecting on their result, and re-trying if necessary.
The notes are quality checked by class teachers at regular intervals. Students can write an online comment to their teacher if they are stuck, and teachers can see how many times the video has been watched and the length of time spent on the task.
Year 7 – STEM club, UKMT activities, CED.
Year 8 – STEM club, UKMT activities, CED.
Year 9 – STEM club, UKMT activities, CED.
Year 10/11 – STEM club, UKMT activities, CED.
Year 12/13 – Maths Captains, MathsFest trip.
Stretch & Challenge
We participate in the UKMT Maths Challenges which provide ample opportunity for stretch and challenge of our pupils. We also participate in team events, and our STEM club provides an opportunity for students to get involved in a range of extra-curricular activities. Check out our STEM club twitter page for more information.
Where can Maths take you?
A Maths qualification can open up so many doors and is always viewed favourably by potential employers. There are a wide range of careers which maths applies to, in areas ranging from engineering to entertainment. Maths is more than simply being able to solve an equation or perform mental arithmetic; it teaches us how to logically approach a problem and opens up the world around us, as well as being able to help us develop mental resilience. These skills are desirable in any career and some of the most popular are listed below:
How parents can support their child’s learning?
Parents can support their child’s learning by checking the weekly completion of the Hegarty Maths homework and asking their child to show them their key learning and notes at the end of each homework.
Parents of Year 11 students can ask to see their child’s assessment folder and use this to structure a revision plan targeting weaker areas.
Our assessment dates and topics are always posted on SMHW and parents can regularly check this as well to support their child with revision.
Hegarty Maths: https://hegartymaths.com/login/learner
5 a day revision: https://corbettmaths.com/5-a-day/gcse/