'Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I assure you that mine are greater’
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The aims of the Maths Department
- To set challenging targets with high expectations for all pupils.
- To offer a variety of approaches to teaching and learning to engage and motivate pupils and demand their active participation.
- To smooth the transition for pupils between Key Stages and ensure progression in teaching and learning throughout their time at Woodbridge High School.
- To explore enrichment opportunities outside the curriculum to enhance pupils’ enjoyment of mathematics.
Why study Maths?
Mathematics is the means of looking at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised. Numeracy is the means of making that knowledge useful.
Mathematics contributes to the school curriculum by developing pupils’ abilities to calculate; to reason logically, algebraically, and geometrically; to solve problems and to handle data. Mathematics is important for pupils in many other areas of study, particularly Science and Technology. It is also important in everyday living, in many forms of employment, and in public decision-making. As a subject in its own right, Mathematics presents frequent opportunities for creativity, and can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a problem is solved for the first time, or a more elegant solution to a problem is discovered, or when hidden connections suddenly manifest.
It enables pupils to build a secure framework of mathematical reasoning, which they can use and apply with confidence. The power of mathematical reasoning lies in its use of precise and concise forms of language, symbolism and representation to reveal and explore general relationships. These mathematical forms are widely used for modelling situations; a trend accelerated by computational technologies.
Topics covered over the three years of Key Stage 3 follow the National Curriculum and include modules on Number; Algebra; Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change; Geometry and Measures; Probability; and Statistics. We particularly emphasise number work in Year 7 and Algebra in Year 8, because thorough grounding and confidence in these core areas is essential for progression to more advanced areas of mathematics. Number and algebra both feature prominently in Year 9 too, with a balance of the other areas covered over the three years in preparation for the GCSE course.
In Year 7 pupils are set in groups for mathematics based on KS2 results. After 4 weeks these groups are fine-tuned following in-school assessment. Resetting for Year 8 is based on measured progress through Year 7. Movement between sets because pupils struggle too much or make exceptional progress during the year occurs as necessary. Pupils also access National Curriculum Maths using MathsPad resources under their teacher’s guidance.
Pupils in each teaching group progress along one of three broad pathways depending on their starting points; support, core and extended. We provide additional maths lessons for those pupils on the support programme most in need of it in place of their second modern foreign language study, and in some cases after school. These differentiated routes bring pupils by the end of Year 9 to the most appropriate starting point for GCSE.
KS4 – GCSE (Edexcel)
Pupils start studying the formal GCSE specification in year 10, but will by this point have a good understanding of much of its content through their studies at KS3. The Maths GCSE is divided into six main areas: Number; Algebra; Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change; Geometry and Measures; Probability; and Statistics. The GCSE curriculum, is studied over 2 years. Pupils are set according to their mathematical ability and this is regularly monitored through class work and half-termly assessments and set changes are made as appropriate. Pupils are regularly set home learning tasks. The GCSE course is assessed through three 90 minute examinations, two with a calculator and one without. There is no coursework. All pupils sit their GCSE at the end of year 11.
KS5 – AS & A-Level (Edexcel)
A Level Maths is a two year course and is suitable for students who gain a grade 7 or better in GCSE Maths.
The Maths A Level comprises three papers, two in Pure Maths and one covering Mechanics and Statistics. Students are allowed calculators for all 3 papers.
For our most able students there is the option to also study for an additional A Level in Further Maths. Further Maths A Level is a two-year course and is suitable for students who gain a grade 8 or better in GCSE Maths. We also offer students who demonstrate they are doing particularly well on just the A Level course by the end of Year 12 the opportunity to take Further Maths AS Level as well.
Students can also take our Maths Studies Level 3 (AS equivalent). This course is a one-year course and is suitable for students who gain a grade 5 or more in GCSE Maths. The course is all about real life maths and complements many other subjects including Business Studies, Geography and Economics. We also provide opportunities to re-sit GCSEs and a foundation Maths pathway for pupils taking vocational courses.
Mathematics is a very useful and highly valued A-level. It is an essential or preferred subject for many degree courses, including Accounting, Architecture, Chemistry, Computing, Engineering, Natural Sciences and Physics. Mathematics has wide applications in industry, business, finance, science, technology and many other areas.
“Examining the jobs market and comparing earnings with subjects studied, it finds that Mathematics is the only A-level subject that adds to earnings - up to 10 per cent - even when the employer is unaware of the person's qualifications.
Graduates who have studied Mathematics earn more than those who have not, even when the job has nothing to do with Maths.”
Institute of Education University of London