Maths

Curriculum Intent

Maths is highly regarded by post-16 institutions as well as employers, so helping all of our students to achieve success is of paramount importance to us. More importantly however, we believe that studying this subject enhances students’ logical reasoning abilities and problem solving skills.

When teaching Maths, we feel there are three key factors that contribute massively to student success; innate mathematical ability, retention ability and motivation. We believe the third factor to be the most important. Regardless of a student’s ability, we constantly endeavour to motivate students and instill a personal sense of desire. At Alderbrook, we take great pride in the work ethic and tenacity that students show in Maths, and we feel that it is the heightening sense of desire that has produced the results of recent years.

The Mathematics team consists of 12 dedicated, full-time members of staff, all of whom are qualified with a Degree in Mathematics or a Mathematics-related Degree. We also have our very own Lead Practitioner, who is currently working on the implementation of challenge and progress in lessons. Our team is very diverse and each teacher possesses a somewhat unique teaching style. However, ensuring pupil learning and progress is essential. All members uphold the belief that high expectations and a clear and consistent framework to manage behaviour for learning are integral in a successful learning environment.

Students should be exposed to a variety of different teaching and learning styles. We aim to make lessons as enjoyable as possible, interesting and engaging. All staff have access to modern technologies and different staff will employ them in different ways. We empathise with students who may not readily enthuse with this subject, and we do our utmost to give all of our students a positive learning experience.

We aim to support all students, regardless of their level of ability. For students who find Mathematics very difficult, we are very fortunate to have the support of the Learning Support Department. For higher ability students, we provide the opportunity to enter UK Maths Challenges and the like. At Key Stage 4, our higher ability students are given the opportunity to study the Further Maths GCSE, which bridges the gap between GCSE and As Level.

We can summarise our key objectives as follows:

  • To motivate students to desire personal success in Maths
  • To provide a positive learning experience
  • To provide an environment in which pupils can learn and feel safe
  • To uphold high expectations of all students
  • To help students see the value of Maths
  • To continue to uphold the identity of Maths as a subject at Alderbrook School

Curriculum Implementation

Key Stage 3

At KS3 pupils in years 7/8 pupils will follow the National Curriculum.

The programme of study for Key Stage 3 is organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should build on Key Stage 2 and connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge in Science, Geography, Computing and other subjects.

Curriculum Content includes,

  • Number
  • Algebra
  • Ratio, proportion rates of change
  • Geometry and Measures
  • Probability and Statistics

The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Pupils are put into sets dependent on their ability. Assessments for learning are regular throughout the year and pupil progress is monitored against their starting threshold.

Key Stage 4

The exclusive delivery of the Key Stage 4 curriculum commences in January of Year 9 where pupils follow a two year scheme of work. Fundamental concepts are covered in the first term of Year 9. Due to the overlap in the Key Stage 3 and 4 curricula, Year 9 inevitably covers many of the grade 4 and 5 aspects of GCSE, topics such as:

  • Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Contextualised numeracy questions
  • Additional numeracy topics (e.g. prime factor decomposition, Lowest Common Multiples, BIDMAS)
  • Basic algebra (e.g. like terms, linear equations, substitution, factorisation, expansion)
  • Basic geometry (e.g. area, volume, angles, transformations of shapes).

 

In Year 11, students will either sit the Higher or Foundation exam. The tier depends on the ability of the students. Tenuously speaking, sets 1 to 3 are typically entered for the Edexcel Higher . Students not suited to Higher Tier are entered for the Edexcel Linear Foundation. The program of study for linear GCSE spans from January of Year 9 till the end of Year 11.

The most able pupils are also entered for the AQA Further Maths level 2 Certificate. The Further Maths is an exceptional GCSE to have; the content covers several aspects of the AS Maths curricula and serves as a fantastic bridge between Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

Edexcel Linear (Higher and Foundation)

Non Calculator Paper 33.3% (80 marks) Written Exam 1 hour 30 minutes
Calculator Paper 33.3% (80 marks) Written Exam 1 hour 30 minutes
Calculator Paper 33.3% (80 marks) Written Exam 1 hour 30 minutes

AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics

The most able students and those considering A level Maths may be entered for the Further Mathematics Qualification. Weightings and timings are outlined in the table below:

Calculator Paper 1 50% (100 marks) Written Exam 2 hours
Calculator Paper 2 50% (100 marks) Written Exam 2 hours

Note* – Occasionally (for exceptional students), we may offer the OCR Additional Mathematics course. This course culminates in a single 2-hour examination and consists of several aspects of the As curriculum, including Differentiation and Integration, Coordinate geometry of circles, cubic polynomials, and As-level probability (binomial distribution).

 

Key Stage 5

Proud to offer three courses at Key Stage 5: AS Core Maths, Maths and Further Maths

Core Maths

Exam Board: AQA

Why Core Maths?

Core Maths is a new Level 3 course for students who achieve a Grade 5 or above pass at GCSE Maths. The qualification is designed to prepare students for the mathematical demands of work, study and life. The skills developed in the study of Mathematics are increasingly important in the workplace and in higher education; studying Core Maths will help you keep up these essential skills. However, Core Maths should not be seen as a replacement for A Level Maths but rather to compliment other A Level choices where Maths has not been chosen.

What will you study?

Alderbrook’s Core Maths course follows a two year specification, though there is the possibility that the course and subsequent exam may be completed in Year 12. Core Maths has been designed to maintain and develop real-life maths skills. What you study is not purely theoretical or abstract; it can be applied on a day-to-day basis in work, study or life. The course focuses primarily on statistics and finance and their real life application. It will also help with other A Level subjects, in particular with Science, Geography, Business Studies, Psychology and Economics.

 

Employability:

Most students who study some form of Maths after GCSE improve their career choices and increase their earning potential. Employers from all different sectors are firmly behind the Core Maths qualification. Many roles in today’s workplace require high levels of budget management and problem-solving skills; Core Maths will be a useful tool in equipping you with these skills. The course has been developed with employers, universities and professional bodies as valuable preparation for higher education and employment.

 

Entry requirements

Minimum grade 5 in GCSE Maths

‘Mathematics is the door and key to the sciences ‘ 

Roger Bacon

Maths

Exam Board:Edexcel

Why A level Maths?

It has long been argued that the Maths GCSE curriculum in this country does not present adequate challenge for the most able mathematicians.  The curriculum consists largely of topics that require procedural methodologies and the various components are somewhat disjointed.  However, the A Level curriculum is arguably one of the most challenging Key Stage 5 courses and is highly regarded by universities and employers alike.  Unlike GCSE Mathematics, the A level begins to form links between the numerous elements of pure mathematics, which have actual application in the real world.  Success at A level requires much greater degrees of commitment, self-motivation and work ethic, even for the most able mathematicians.

What will you study?

Alderbrook’s A Level Maths Course follows the Edexcel specification. The two year course consists of two compulsory Pure Maths components and a further Statistics and Mechanics component.

University degrees that require or often prefer Maths include:

Computer ScienceEngineeringAccountingEconomicsArchitectureActuarial MathematicsPhysics, Biology, ChemistrySports Science.

Possible careers:

Medicine, science, actuary, architecture, game designers, engineering, IT and computing, automotive, biosciences, financial services.

Entry requirements:

Minimum grade 7 in GCSE Maths (8 preferable).

‘Maths defines the physical universe and everything that it contains. Welcome to the only axiomatically perfect subject; the only exact Science. Look left, look right, you cannot escape it. This is Maths! ‘

Archimedes

Further Maths

Exam Board: Edexcel

Why A level Further Maths?

Further Maths is arguably the most challenging A-Level course in this country, and is designed for students with elite mathematical abilities. In addition to ability, the ideal candidates possess an incredible work ethic.  Working towards a Further Maths A-level often boosts students’ marks in the standard Maths A-level due to the additional time attributed to studying mathematics. In addition, Further Maths equips students with essential, advanced mathematical skills required for the first year of maths-related degrees, which is why universities often favour this particular qualification. Students wishing to attend university will benefit greatly from this course; it requires a large proportion of independent study and dedication.

What will you study?

Alderbrook offers the Further Maths A Level (Edexcel specification). This course is designed for elite mathematicians and covers several aspects of maths that are taught at University level, such as matrices and differential equations.

The course is a combination of compulsory Further Pure Mathematics components and optional components from Further Statistics, Decision and Further Mechanics.

University degrees that require or often prefer Maths include:

Computer ScienceEngineeringAccounting, EconomicsArchitectureActuarial MathematicsPhysics, Biology, ChemistrySports Science.

Possible careers:

Medicine, science, actuary, architecture, game designers, engineering, IT and computing, automotive, biosciences, financial services.

Entry requirements:

At least a Grade 8 in GCSE Maths (GCSE in AQA Level 2 Further Mathematics preferable) and to be also studying A Level Maths.

 

‘A problem worthy of attack proves it’s worth by fighting back.’

Piet Hein

 

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Extra-curricular activities include Gifted and talented events such as UKMT Maths Challenges and team challenges. Challenge events at Birmingham University and Maths Feast for year 10s at Solihull Sixth form College.

We also staff who are member of NCETM and who rum the fun Maths roadshow at the Big Bang national event at the NEC and Alderbrook is a lead school involved in transition projects with several local primary school. Homework clubs are run on Tuesdays and Thursdays for all year groups and specific revision classes are available for pupils who are taking exams.

Skills for Success and Career Opportunities

In Maths, students will develop their problem solving skills, tenacity and determination and their ability to self – manage and reflect.

A Grade 4 in Maths (in some instances a Grade 5) is often a minimum requirement for college courses and further training schemes.

Possible careers

Mathematicians can apply their logical reasoning abilities to numerous fields. Common career paths include:

  • Medicine
  • Science
  • Actuary
  • Architecture
  • Game designers
  • Engineering
  • IT and Computing
  • Automotive
  • Biosciences

University degrees that require or often prefer A level Maths include:

Studying Mathematics at A-Level lends itself to numerous potential degree courses, including:

  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Architecture
  • Actuarial Mathematics
  • Physics, Biology, Chemistry
  • Sports Science
  • Financial Services

*It is worth noting that research has shown a 10% increase in earning relative to those who do not study A Level Maths.

Contact the Head of Department

For further information, please contact Mr R. Cox