A 21st Century mathematics faculty has a duty to prepare students for a lifetime of mathematics and not just passing an examination, important as that short-term goal may be. Each student has the right to leave high school able to communicate mathematically in the modern world and to have mathematics as a skill which they can draw upon throughout their adult lives. This comes through a development of applicational mathematics and problem-solving skills, not just through learning specific methods and skills.
This is reflected in the new 9-1 curriculum and at Walton le Dale we feel that developing these skills is even more implicitly necessary within our academic environment as well as for the students’ later lives. We aim to develop that skillset alongside nurturing a love and curiosity for the study of mathematics and its related disciplines.
We believe that our curriculum places a high emphasis on the core mathematical skills required for success in any field of study or employment, and develops this to a high level in the KS3 provision before building and developing on this during the KS4 curriculum in preparation for the challenges of the GCSE examination. Throughout all years these skills are placed in the context of problem solving and functional situations, giving students opportunities to use their newly learnt skills in practical situations and not just as theoretical tools without a basis in the real world.
- To challenge our students and set high expectations, with the aim of encouraging them to do the same for themselves.
- To engage students in the study of Mathematics, so that they take ownership of their studies and actively participate in their learning
- To encourage a wider appreciation of Mathematics, provide enrichment opportunities outside of the classroom where possible, and find enjoyment in their Mathematics
- To ensure that all students leave with a qualification in Mathematics which reflects their full potential
- To develop resilience and robustness in Mathematical skills and methods, giving the confidence to attempt problems outside of their direct experience
- To develop logic and reasoning skills, giving the mental flexibility to explore a problem through sound mathematical processes
- To develop problem solving skills, giving the adaptability to apply their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts – both in mathematical contexts and in the wider world
- All students, regardless of prior ability, should leave Walton le Dale equipped with the mathematical skills to function successfully within day-to-day modern life, and within their chosen future profession.
- Students who want to pursue further study should leave Walton le Dale with the appropriate mathematical skills to enable them to continue that learning journey
- Students should acquire an ability to solve problems based on a systematic and structured approach, and to communicate those solutions in a clear and logical way.
- All students should leave Walton le Dale free from fear of mathematics, and with a confidence and enjoyment of mathematics at whatever level is appropriate for their ability.
Programmes of Study
The programme of study for Mathematics at Walton le Dale follows the national curriculum requirements and the suggested schemes of work from our examination board, Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1). Year 7 follow a mastery curriculum based around the SparxMaths suggested programme of study. The rest of KS3 (year 8 & 9) consists of three parallel streams tailored to provide a fundamental structure for those with lower, middle and higher prior attainment levels, leading through to a two-tier scheme at KS4 (years 10 & 11) which prepares students for the corresponding final examinations in the Summer of year 11.
Students are grouped into sets based on their KS2 attainment when they arrive in year 7, and are then regularly assessed to ensure that they are in the most appropriate groups for their ability during KS3. By the time they reach KS4 we try to limit movement as much as possible to ensure the consistency of delivery as they prepare for their GCSE examinations, but would still move students if they were obviously performing outside of the standards for the group that they were in.
Within the framework of the schemes of work, staff are encouraged to provide high levels of pace and challenge within the capabilities of the students in their groups, and where possible and appropriate to move students into higher level content once they assess the students to be secure in the core content of the prescribed programmes of study.
In year 11 we offer the GCSE Further Mathematics qualification for any students who are working above grade 7 level and for whom it may be a useful bridging course to continued study in Further Education. To be eligible for this additional course students need to demonstrate a secure ability in the core GCSE to ensure that they will not be adversely impacted by the additional workload.
Marking and Assessment
In years 7-10 students receive either a mini-assessment or end of unit assessment at least once every 3 weeks, which are completed in test conditions in lessons and detailed written feedback provided. This coincides with staff reviewing the work done in lessons which will have been self-assessed or peer-assessed by the students with guidance and support in lessons from staff.
Homeworks are assessed automatically by the SparxMaths virtual learning environment and the results reviewed by staff. The system allows staff to see exactly what responses each student has given to each question and so where the scores are low it allows meaningful support and feedback to be given, with after school support available in our ICT suites if required.
Larger, more encompassing assessments are undertaken by all year groups at the end of each academic year, allowing a broader range of skills to be assessed and to check the recall and retention of the content over time.
In year 11 students complete a full past GCSE paper every two weeks which is marked and graded by staff to examination standards, and then detailed feedback provided to the students on what they needed to do to improve on questions they had not got correct.
In all assessments the focus is on analysing the results to identify the gaps in student’s knowledge and understanding so that these can be promptly addressed and prevent them carrying through unchecked, potentially undermining the ability to progress in topics which build on the prior knowledge and skills acquired.
The final course assessment is 100% examination based and this takes place in the summer of year 11. We use the Edexcel examination board and the final examinations consist of three 1.5 hour papers – paper 1 being a non-calculator paper, and papers 2 & 3 being calculator papers. Each paper is marked out of 80 giving a total of 240 marks available, with grade boundaries set nationally after each examination series to determine the grade awarded for each student’s total number of marks achieved.
The examinations are in two tiers, higher and foundation, with the foundation papers covering grade 1-5 content and the higher paper covering grade 4-9. Typically students who are working at a level that would gain a secure grade 5 or above would be entered for the higher paper, with the remainder entered for foundation – however this is reviewed for each individual student to ensure the tier of entry gives them the best possible chance to achieve their maximum potential.
Revision Guides/Supporting Resources
Homework is provided weekly for all year groups on SparxMaths, an online virtual learning environment which allows students to practice their skills and get immediate feedback on their responses. This site can also be used for general practice and revision by students, looking at topics in addition to the ones set by their teaching staff.
In year 11 we also track the outcomes of past exam paper practice completed in lessons, and give students a breakdown of the topics that they need to work on. This can be cross-referenced with SparxMaths so students can work independently on improving on topics, as well as the support given in lessons.
We recommend the CGP revision guides for GCSE students (and for any students at KS3 wanting to work on their skills outside of school) and these are available to purchase at a discount through school.
Mr Carr – Curriculum Leader for Mathematics
Mr Altham – Assistant Curriculum Leader for Mathematics
Mr Cairns – Teacher of Mathematics
Mrs Piggott – Teacher of Mathematics
Miss Sharples – Teacher of Mathematics
Mrs Youssouf – Teacher of Mathematics
Mr Hilton – Teacher of Mathematics
Mr Straw – HLTA in Mathematics
Careers and Progression
GCSE Mathematics is an essential entry requirement to college courses and careers. Students wanting to take A Levels, Higher Level college courses or modern apprenticeships will be required to have a grade 5 or higher in GCSE Mathematics.
Employers in all industries will look at Mathematics grades for all job roles. There are many Mathematics specific jobs that will require a higher level of maths and this GCSE course allows progression on to these in further education. Not only Mathematics and Further Mathematics but Science subjects too.
Mathematics is a key component of many jobs and degree courses, from genetics and geography to economics, finance, accounting and computing. Recent research suggests that people with A-Level Mathematics can earn 10% more than colleagues with similar qualifications.