Maths – Curriculum Areas:
Introduction to your subject
To bring to students the appreciation of mathematics. To equip students with the confidence, knowledge and skills to understand, manage and flourish in the real world.
Mathematics is a hierarchical subject where success at each level is reliant on the mastery of all that sits below.
We aim to ensure core knowledge and skills are taught in an appropriate, consistent and explicit manner. Clear explanations, practice and regular retrieval are used to build resilience to organise and recall knowledge. Students will develop sufficient understanding and unconscious competence in core skills to enable them to tackle deeper tasks.
All students will be exposed to problem solving, real world skills and cross curricular links to develop their analytical skills and freedom of mathematical thought. They will make use of their core skills along with problem solving strategies to describe, model, manipulate and provide solutions.
The intent of the department is to develop students who can take advantage of their mathematical education to secure independent achievement in work, academia and personal development or for the sheer enjoyment of the subject.
The topics taught at KS3 set the groundwork for GCSE but also prepare students for everyday life and the world of work. They develop reasoning and problem solving skills.
The fundamental topics are those under the number strand. These underpin all other strands and a solid understanding is crucial before progress can be made.
Students use the fundamentals to build upon each year.
For example times-table knowledge will lead to harder mental arithmetic such as 0.9 x 0.06, 800 ÷ 0.25 etc. Shape and space work will start to incorporate algebra. Fraction knowledge will be used to solve probability problems etc. The topics should begin to become more and more intertwined as the student progresses. This will not be restricted by school year but will be aligned to the ability of the student. Higher ability students will be challenged with deeper learning, not accelerated learning. Following this philosophy means that the current curriculum can provide sufficient challenge for every student without the need to make it broader.
Students should start to see links with other subjects. For example interpreting graphs in Science, working with scale in Design Technology, solving proportion problems in Food Technology, applying shape and space formulae to problems in the Industry Project, using grid references in the Cumbrian Award etc.
Students have 5 lessons of maths a week in years 7,8, 9 and 10 and a minimum of 6 in year 11. This is sufficient time to deliver the concepts and reach the depths required without overloading individuals.
The change to the maths GCSE curriculum from 2017 has introduced topics brought down from the A level syllabus and increased the amount of problem solving required. This has informed teaching across the year groups. Problems are presented in a wide variety of ways using a range of vocabulary. The department has built up a bank of problem solving resources aimed at addressing this requirement.
Lessons are sequenced to facilitate progress with opportunities built in for revisiting and consolidation (starters/plenaries/quizzes/homework and holistic assessment). Key number topics that form the foundation for all other learning are taught early and knowledge frequently checked. Topics are revisited at timely intervals to enable progression to be made. Registration interventions and IDL are used to assist students identified with gaps in their knowledge or in danger of falling too far behind.
Over time the curriculum frequently links back to previous learning then takes further steps to allow deeper connections to be made.
In year 11 students have an ‘intensive maths’ week where they are split according to ability and given the time to focus solely on maths. Higher ability students in year 10 are taken off timetable for 2 days in order to engage in deeper tasks and problem solving. These are not problems from past exam papers but ones that generate discussion and debate and require time to solve.
Lower ability students in years 7 and 8 have a weekly problem solving lesson over the Autumn term. In this sequence of lessons various techniques are broken down and delivered step by step enabling students to then tackle a range of problems with increased confidence. The aim is for students to take this increased confidence and resilience to problem solving forward in their mathematics studies and across the curriculum.
Topics that interest and engage students but that aren’t explicitly stated in the curriculum are used in the teaching and delivery. Examples of these are ratios taught through bike gears, graphs taught through real life athletics data, sequences taught through exploring Fibonacci.
Whole school assemblies are delivered by the subject lead on mathematical topics outside the curriculum that aim to enhance the appreciation of the maths around us in life. Examples of these are fractals, infinity, number bases (other than 10), maths in games, different dimensions, the Grand National and time zones.
Content and Implementation
KS3 – The strands at KS3 cover numbers and the number system, operations and calculations, fractions, decimals and percentages, ratio and proportion, algebra, properties of shapes, measure, position and movement, processing and representing data and probability
KS4 – the above strands are built upon to include further equations, inequalities, functions and formulae, angles and polygons, circle theorems and equation of a circle, trigonometric functions, transformations and vectors, further graphs, handling data and further probability.
Students are assessed using the AQA KS3 tests (common across the West Cumbria Network) and AQA KS4 topic tests 3 times a year. At half termly intervals they are assessed with a mixture of topic reviews and graded tests covering, number and calculations, algebra and using and applying.
Regular quizzes and mini tests are used at regular intervals as starters and plenaries to assist in student recall and retention.
Day to day and week to week progression is monitored in class and through homework tasks. Students identified as falling behind or who have misconceptions on a topic are referred to the subject lead for registration intervention. The student will receive one to one or small group help in this period. More able students are also identified to attend registration intervention to receive deeper questions and challenges from the subject lead.
The students sit the Edexcel GCSE qualification in maths in year 11 at the foundation level or higher level as appropriate.
Link to GCSE specification(s)
Edexcel (9-1) Mathematics