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Maths

At all Key Stages, students studying mathematics will work to further develop their existing knowledge of the four main strands of mathematics. These four stands broadly cover all aspects of mathematics and are commonly labeled as ‘number skills’, ‘algebra’, ‘shape space and measure’ and ‘handling data’, Mathematics at Key Stages 3 and 4 is taught in sets, with each set following a similar scheme of work. Schemes of work between classes will vary slightly to both reflect the ability of the class and ensure all students have the best opportunity to meet or exceed their individual targets. Students in all Key Stages will regularly be assessed, following which their attainment and progress will be reported home. Students in Key Stages 3 and 4 will be graded using the new 1 to 9 GCSE system, for which a grade 4 is equivalent to a traditional grade C. For internal assessments each grade awarded will also be accompanied with a letter (A, B or C) to reflect the progress made within each grade. ‘A’ will indicate the student is ‘mastering’ the particular grade, where ‘B’ and ‘C’ will mean they have a ‘secure’ or ‘developing’ knowledge. Over Key Stage 3 and 4 students will often revisit a particular topic, each time consolidating their understanding before extending their knowledge into more complex situations. Therefore to make rapid and sustained progress it is vital all students address any difficulties they encounter as they arise. To support students development the maths department offer drop-in nights for each Key Stage. These nights provide an ideal opportunity for students to receive some additional support from our team of experienced maths teachers.

Achieving a good level of maths is important for young people to compete in today’s labour market, in fact many employers now use maths and English qualifications as a filter in their recruitment processes. This means ensuring young people attain a good level of maths, and English, before they leave school is critical.  The Maths Department of St Joseph’s are committed to ensuring every students makes maximum progress in their maths studies, and will provide ongoing support to ensure all students are prepared for further education or the world of work.

Key Stage 3 Maths

Students at KS3 follow a scheme of work which covers all strands of mathematics, including algebra, shape, space and measures, number and handling data. A good understanding of the concepts studied at KS3 will provide a solid foundation for GCSE study. Additionally a number of the topics studied during KS3 will also be assessed in early parts of the GCSE examinations at the end of year 11.  Students in KS3 will have regular assessments to track their progress, but there are no external examinations for KS3 students.

Key Stage 4 Maths

New GCSEs in a range of subjects, including maths, will be taught in schools in England from September 2015, with students getting their results for the new qualifications in August 2017.

As in previous years, the GCSE course will have two tiers of entry, Foundation and Higher. Both tiers give students the opportunity to achieve a ‘Grade 4’ the equivalent of a ‘Grade C’ on the previous GCSE system. The Foundation tier covers Grades 1 to 5 and the Higher tier covers Grades 4 to 9.

To ensure all students are fully prepared for future employment the government currently require all students to achieve a Grade 4 in GCSE mathematics. Those students who fail to achieve a Grade 4 are required, by law, to resit GCSE mathematics if they enrol at college or sixth form.

A Grade 5, which is also achievable on both papers, will be positioned in the top third of the marks for a current grade C and bottom third of the marks for a current grade B. This will mean that a Grade 5 will be of greater demand than the present grade C. A Grade 5 will also be broadly in line with what the best available evidence tells us is the average performance in countries such as Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland and may be desirable to enhance future employability options. Over the next few years it is likely that a Grade 5 will become the new minimum requirement.

The new GCSE is a linear qualification meaning all examinations will take place at the end of the course, in the summer of year 11. Assessment is solely by examination, and consists of 3 equally weighted papers.

Paper 1: Non-Calculator + Paper 2: Calculator + Paper 3: Calculator
Written Exam Written Exam Written Exam
(1 Hour 30 Minutes) (1 Hour 30 Minutes) (1 Hour 30 Minutes)
80 Marks 80 Marks 80 Marks
Non-Calculator Calculator allowed Calculator allowed

Each examination paper will have a mixture of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems which will be worth a greater number of marks. In general, the mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the examination paper so longer, multi-step problems will be more likely be towards the end of the test paper.

In addition to the outlined subject knowledge, students will be assessed on their ability to:

AO1: Use and apply standard techniques

 

Students should be able to:

 

• accurately recall facts, terminology and definitions

 

• use and interpret notation correctly

 

• accurately carry out routine procedures or set tasks requiring multi-step solutions.

AO2: Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically

 

Students should be able to:

 

• make deductions, inferences and draw conclusions from mathematical information

 

• construct chains of reasoning to achieve a given result

 

• interpret and communicate information accurately

 

• present arguments and proofs

 

• assess the validity of an argument and critically evaluate a given way of presenting information.

AO3: Solve problems within mathematics and in other contexts

 

Students should be able to:

 

• translate problems in mathematical or non-mathematical contexts into a process or a series of mathematical processes

 

• make and use connections between different parts of mathematics

 

• interpret results in the context of the given problem

 

• evaluate methods used and results obtained

 

• evaluate solutions to identify how they may have been affected by assumptions made.

Key Stage 5 Maths

Current Yr 12 + Yr 13 (For courses beginning September 2016 or earlier)

At AS/A2 Students follow the Edexcel syllabus.

AS Mathematics consists of 3 modules, 2 core modules (Core 1 and Core 2) and 1 applied module (Statistics 1).

If you choose to study Further Mathematics, in addition to the above, you will also study Further Pure 1, Decision 1 and Statistics 2.

Topics covered within the AS modules include, but are not limited to, algebra, series, coordinate geometry, an introduction to calculus, trigonometry, differentiation, integration, binomial series, exponentials  and logarithms, representation of sample data, probability, correlation, regression and the normal distribution.

The A2 course builds upon the knowledge of core mathematics gained at AS, and continues to develops your understanding as you study 2 additional core modules (Core 3 and Core 4) and 1 new applied module (Mechanics 1).

If you choose to study Further Mathematics, in addition to the above, you will also study Further Pure 2, Further Pure 3 and Mechanics 2.

All units are assessed by external examination in June of Year 12/13.

The variety of modules you study within A Level maths gives you a well-rounded experience of mathematics and a strong mathematical background for a range of university courses and or careers. In particular, mathematics is a highly desirable A level for those entering the field of mathematics, engineering, science, geography, economics or any social science.

Further Maths is a desirable A level for those students wishing to further their study of Mathematically-based subjects at university. Leeds University states: “Take an AS in Further Maths – and be well prepared for University! The extra modules of pure maths and mechanics will prove invaluable for mathematics, physics or engineering”.

(For courses beginning September 2017 or later)

AS and A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics are changing from 2017.

At AS/A2 students will follow the Edexcel syllabus.

The new AS Mathematics course will consist of 2 modules, 1 core and 1 applied. The pure module will be assessed by students completing a 2 hours examination paper which will be worth 66.66% of the qualification. Topics covered in the pure module include, but are not limited to, proof, algebra and functions, coordinate geometry in the (x,y) plane, sequences and series, trigonometry, exponentials and logarithms, differentiation, integration and vectors.

The applied module will be assessed by students completing a 1 hour examination paper which will be worth 33.33% of the qualification. Topics in the applied module cover both mechanics and statistics strands of mathematics and include, but are not limited to, statistical sampling, data presentation and interpretation, probability, statistical distributions, statistical hypothesis testing, mechanics, quantities and units in mechanics, kinematics and forces / Newton’s laws Calculators can be used in both the core and applied examinations. If students chose to study the A2 mathematics course, they will study all of the points above in more depth, extending their knowledge base beyond the requirements of AS study. The A2 examination consists of 2 pure papers and one applied paper, all of which are 2 hours each and are worth 33.33% of the qualification.

The variety of modules you study within A Level maths gives you a well-rounded experience of mathematics and a strong mathematical background for a range of university courses and or careers. In particular, mathematics is a highly desirable A level for those entering the field of mathematics, engineering, science, geography, economics or any social science.

Further Maths is a desirable A level for those students wishing to further their study of Mathematically-based subjects at university. The further maths course covers all content included in the mathematics course in addition to a wide variety of further pure, further statistics, further mechanics and decision mathematics.

Additional Support

Students currently have, and will continue to have, access to the MyMaths website. This is an excellent resource to provide additional support, clarification or further explanation of methods studied in class, as well as additional practice on all aspects of the maths GCSE. Questions attempted by the student are marked online so the student receives instant feedback on their completed work. Completed tasks can also be viewed by their class teacher so progress can be monitored.

Students in KS3 and KS4 will have 3 assessments, following which their progress will be reviewed by their class teacher. In addition to reviewing the completed assessment in class with the student, any student who is deemed to be making ‘insufficient progress to achieve their target grade by the end of the course’ will be allocated a selection of MyMaths tasks which they must complete. If this additional work is required, a letter will be sent home with the student outlining the tasks which need completing. Whilst we will monitor the tasks in school appreciates parental support in ensuring students complete all work set.

The maths department will also offer all students in the school the opportunity to attend drop in sessions after school. These sessions provide an ideal opportunity for students to seek additional support from an experienced member of staff from the maths department. Students may come to these sessions with a particular question / problem, to seek help with their homework or just for some general / further practice on any aspect of the Mathematics course.

Want some more information?

AQA GCSE Maths Specification