What is maths?  The Oxford dictionary definition tells us it is ‘the abstract science of number, quantity and space…’  At its heart mathematics is the language used to explain how the world works.  Dean Charles Schlicter (Wisconsin University, 1920s) quoted ‘Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.

Too often mathematics is viewed as a skills acquisition;  can you find the missing angle?; can you factorise a quadratic? Can you find the volume of the sphere? Yes, we need these skills to be successful mathematicians but the ultimate aim is to be able apply the skills and knowledge acquired in order to think logically and solve problems.  Maths allows us to develop a disciplined approach to problems.


When presented with a problem our students are encouraged to:


  • Identify the main problem to be solved
  • Find out what information is needed to solve it – do you have all of the information and how will you find the missing information and what skills will it take?
  • Devise an action plan that is sensible and logical.
  • Decide if the answer they achieve is a sensible one.


Whether the problem is finding the area under a quadratic graph or working out how you can save enough money to buy a house, through the study of mathematics we aim to equip our students to be problem solvers, and in an increasingly competitive and challenging world, that’s a life skill in itself.  The Maths Department at St Joseph’s are committed to ensuring that each student makes maximum progress in their studies, and will provide ongoing support to ensure all students are prepared for further education, the world of work and life in general.


Key Stage 3 maths


In key stage 3 we aim to build upon the skills and knowledge pupils acquired in key stage 2.  Across the 2 week timetable pupils will receive 8 hours of maths teaching.  During this time they will further develop their numeracy skills, problem solving and analytical skills.  Pupils are given opportunities to strengthen and deepen their understanding of mathematics.  One of the opportunities that we provide is through our involvement in the UKMT maths challenge and Team events.


Throughout each module pupils are set homework once per week (10 homework tasks per module) and these are set as quizzes on Google Classroom.  These quizzes are designed as retrieval tasks, allowing pupils to revisit and build upon previous topics and skills.   Through retrieval tasks, which are also incorporated into lessons, pupils should have a deeper understanding of these skills and in a test should be able to recall them easier.


Key stage 3 learning journeys


In key stage 3 pupils follow a core scheme of learning, with support and stretch lessons, which allow teachers to provide the correct level of challenge for the pupils they are working with.  In year 9 pupils begin to follow a more differentiated approach in preparation for their GCSE course in key stage 4.

Regularly we hear the phrase ‘how do you revise for maths?’ There is no one correct way to revise for maths but the best way is to just do it! Encourage your child to try lots of different ways to revise for maths then the method(s) that works best for them. Suggested ways to revise are:

* Make revision posters/mind maps

* Use a textbook/revision workbook for practice questions

* Practice past papers

* Covering the answers while re-trying a question

* Find a revision buddy who you can work with

* Make flash cards

* Learn formulae and important information/facts

* Go online

Useful websites:

* Hegarty Maths

All students have their own unique login which has been given to them by their maths teacher.

* My Maths

All students have their own unique login to our school portal.

* Corbett Maths

This is a free to use website with a vast array of maths topics. Each topic contains a how to do video, practice textbook questions and exam style questions.

* BBC Bitesize

This website is free to use and has many activities to aid your child. * Maths Made Easy

* Seneca

Pupils create their own accounts for Seneca and reset their own passwords.