The philosophy of the Mathematics department is firmly rooted in fostering enjoyment in the subject for its own sake irrespective of ability. While accessibility is of course key, it is also as imperative to emphasise the fact that mathematics permeates the breadth and depth of the curriculum and actually everyday life.
As a small but dedicated teaching team, we are focused on delivering an engaging programme of study that allows students to achieve their aspirational potential through excellent teaching. Student input has been an integral feature in the evolution of the scheme of learning for the new GCSE specification. With this ownership student interest is nurtured through suitably demanding work, including non-routine problems that require them to reason, justify and evaluate. We continually strive to improve our students’ learning experience and provide a variety of extracurricular opportunities such as competing in local and national competitions to exploring mathematics much further afield in other countries.
Key Stage 3
Our mathematics department has adopted a mastery approach to teaching which has number at its very core. Consequently, a significant fraction of lesson time in Year 7 is devoted to reinforcing number topics to build competency. Fundamental number skills then filter through the rest of the scheme so that students further develop their fluency. The concept allows students of all levels to find the material accessible while facilitating challenge for higher attaining students through depth rather than acceleration onto new content.
Consequently the framework for introducing topics in key stage 3 broadly follows these steps:
Concrete – students should have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand and explain what they are doing.
Pictorial – students should then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.
Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid, students should be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.
Alongside the curriculum plans for year 7 and 8, assessments are undertaken at least once per half term. There are two versions of the assessment: a support version for lower attaining students and a further script for the core with appropriate challenge. Assessments are used to determine gaps in students’ knowledge and is then evaluated to plan support and intervention strategies.
The assessments are designed to test students understanding rather than capacity to regurgitate rote learning as this tends to lead to a superficial understanding which can easily be forgotten. We acknowledge the input of White Rose Maths Hub in developing this approach.
Students in key stage 3 who struggle with mathematics are invited to participate in tutor time intervention which is run by Miss Hennells in collaboration with the SEN department. It is recognised that fluent recall of timetables facts and relationships is central to being able to tackle problems solving questions successfully. As a consequence the maths department has embraced the program TT Rockstars.