Pupils who enjoy Mathematics do so because of its challenge, its clarity, and the fact that you know when you are right.
The solution of a problem has an excitement that can produce an enormous sense of satisfaction. Students who continue with Mathematics beyond GCSE enjoy a wide range of career options - the abilities to use logical thought, to formulate problems, to make deductions from starting assumptions and to use advanced concepts all ensure that mathematicians are in demand.
Mathematics is about pattern and structure and is central to our existence as it underpins almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives. It has led to stunning developments in Health and Medicine, Research, Business, Finance, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Psychology and Technology.
The Mathematics Department strives to promote curiosity in all aspects of the subject. Additionally, we aim to equip our pupils with the ability to communicate abstract ideas effectively and to develop confidence in their ability to do so. Within our lessons, wherever possible, we pose questions that demand a depth of thinking or require several different mathematical techniques to derive their solutions. In order to give maximum engagement, an emphasis on relating Mathematics to real life problems and scenarios is incorporated into lessons to give meaning to what is being taught. Mathematical games, competitions and kinaesthetic materials are regularly used in lessons to make learning fun and to maximise understanding. Above all, we aim to instil a real enjoyment of Mathematics and an appreciation of the beauty of its concepts.
The Department understands and recognises that pupils have different experiences of Mathematics. Some pupils cannot get enough of the subject, and we aim to stretch such pupils with our extension activities and participation in national competitions and events. These include individual and team events from Year 8 to Year 13, and exclusive invitation only events run within Norfolk, and beyond.
Other pupils benefit from the additional support that is offered. We have assistant teachers in lessons where required. We offer a number of ‘Mathematics Clinics’ at lunchtimes and after school each week which are open to all. Learning support also provides specialist assistance to individual and small groups specifically to help all pupils to reach their potential.
In Year 7, pupils are taught in their form groups. This allows them to settle into the school, getting to know their peers and teachers before they are put into sets in Year 8. This is done according to their ability in Mathematics. The more able pupils in the top set are ‘accelerated’ at a rate which is both comfortable and challenging to them.
In Years 7 and 8 we provide a firm introduction to the subject and what we expect of a Thetford Grammar School mathematician. In Year 7 we focus on key skills, covering ground in all topics and then building on that knowledge the following year. This ensures pupils enjoy variety, and has the advantage of allowing time for all the main concepts to become ‘fixed’ effectively. Our aim during these two crucial years is to develop numerical and algebraic skills through a variety of methods, while providing an introduction to linking different mathematical ideas to solve non-routine problems.
We start the GCSE curriculum in Year 9 and are therefore following the Pearson (Edexcel) 3-year scheme of work.
A GCSE in Mathematics requires pupils to develop a higher level of knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts, including: Number, Algebra, Geometry and Measures, Statistics, Probability, Ratio, Proportion and Rates of change.
Pupils will use their knowledge to make connections between mathematical concepts. They will apply the functional elements of Mathematics in everyday and real-life situations. Pupils will be given the opportunity to develop the ability to acquire and use problem–solving strategies. They will select and apply mathematical techniques, reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions. They will interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context. Mathematics is a compulsory GCSE.
Pupils sit three written papers at the end of Year 11. Each paper contributes to 1/3 of the qualification. The papers are 1 hour and 30 minutes each, and each paper contains 80 marks. Paper 1 is a non-calculator paper, and Papers 2 and 3 are calculator papers. The papers test each pupil’s ability to:
- Use and apply standard techniques (40 - 50%)
- Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically (25 - 50%)
- Solve problems with Mathematics and in other contexts (25 - 30%)
Edexcel offer two tiers within GCSE Mathematics. Higher tier enables pupils to access the grades from 4 to 9. Foundation tier enables pupils to access grades from 1 to 5. A grade 4 (grade C) is a pass, but all pupils should aim to achieve a minimum grade 5 (grade C/B). Grade 5 is seen as a ‘good pass’.
Pupils who are expected to achieve at most a grade 5 will be entered for the Foundation Tier and pupils who are expected to achieve at least a grade 5 will be entered for the Higher Tier.
At Thetford Grammar School we follow the Edexcel Mathematics Linear Course. Details of the course specification and what new content has been added can be found below.
Maths A Level
A level Mathematics introduces and develops fundamental ideas that build a repertoire of key skills. Students will during the course build on these key skills by extending their range of mathematical techniques and apply these in other fields of study. They will be able to understand the progression in Mathematics and how different areas of Mathematics are connected.
At this level of study, students are expected to take increasing responsibility for their own learning and the evaluation of their own mathematical development. This will assist them in the transition from Sixth Form to University or other Higher Education institutions.
A-level Mathematics is a two year linear course that will be examined during the summer of Year 13. Even though our focus is to complete the course in two years, the order and pace of delivering lessons will allow students to take the AS exam at the end of Year 12.
Minimum Entry Requirements
A minimum GCSE Grade 6 in Mathematics. It is also advised that students have worked through the transition materials during the summer holiday prior to them starting the course in Year 12. These can be sent to individuals upon request.
In both years (AS and A2) you will build upon previous knowledge and be introduced to entirely new concepts and ideas. You will explore how to tackle a wide variety of problems by applying these ‘mathematical tools’ appropriately. You will learn to spot common themes to some areas whilst developing novel approaches to others.
Some of the topics you will study during your two years of A level Mathematics are Algebraic methods, Quadratics, graphs and the transformation of graphs, Trigonometry and Radians, Vectors, Sequences and Series and Calculus that involves differentiation and integration.
AS and A level Mathematics will be assessed as follows:
Paper 1 - Pure Mathematics - 2 Hours - Marks 100
Paper 2 - Statistics and Mechanics - 1 Hour and 15 Minutes - Marks 60
Paper 1 - Pure Mathematics - 2 Hours - Marks 100
Paper 2 - Pure Mathematics - 2 Hours - Marks 100
Paper 3 - Statistics and Mechanics - 2 Hours - Marks 100
Further Maths A Level
Further Mathematics is an AS-Level or an A-Level qualification which both broadens and deepens the Mathematics covered in A-Level Mathematics. For students who enjoy Mathematics, Further Mathematics provides a challenge and a chance to explore new and or more sophisticated mathematical concepts. It enables students to distinguish themselves as able mathematicians in their applications for university and future employment. Further Mathematics qualifications are highly regarded and are warmly welcomed by universities. Further Mathematicians are demonstrating a strong commitment to their studies, as well as learning Mathematics that is very useful for any mathematically rich degree, such as Engineering, Sciences, Computing and Economics. Highly numerate disciplines are in great demand from employers – young people with Mathematics qualifications will find that their degrees can open doors to exciting and rewarding careers.
A-level Further Mathematics is a two year linear course that will be examined during the summer of Year 13. Similar to AS Mathematics, students will be able to take the AS exam at the end of Year 12.
Minimum Entry Requirements: A minimum GCSE Grade 8 in Mathematics. Students can only study A-level Further Mathematics alongside A-level Mathematics, although it counts as a separate A-level.
For AS level Further Mathematics you study 3 units, one of which is a compulsory Core Pure Mathematics unit. Two more units are to be chosen from the following list.
Further Pure Mathematics 1 or 2, Further Mechanics 1 or 2, Further Statistics 1 or 2, Further Decision Mathematics 1 or 2. These units listed are the same as the options you choose from for the A level, but each will only be done up to the AS level.
For A level Further Mathematics you study 4 units over the two years, two of which are the compulsory Core Pure Mathematics 1 and 2 units. The other two will be chosen form the following list. Further Pure Mathematics 1 or 2, Further Mechanics 1 or 2, Further Statistics 1 or 2, Further Decision Mathematics 1 or 2.
AS and A level Further Mathematics will be assessed as follows:
Paper 1 - Core Pure Mathematics - 1Hour and 40 Minutes - 80 Marks
Paper 2 - Further Mathematics Option Paper (*see below) - 1 Hour and 40 Minutes - 80 Marks
Students take one of the following ten options:
2A: Further Pure Mathematics 1 and Further Pure Mathematics 2
2B: Further Pure Mathematics 1 and Further Statistics 1
2C: Further Pure Mathematics 1 and Further Mechanics 1
2D: Further Pure Mathematics 1 and Decision Mathematics 1
2E: Further Statistics 1 and Further Mechanics 1
2F: Further Statistics 1 and Decision Mathematics 1
2G: Further Statistics 1 and Further Statistics 2
2H: Further Mechanics 1 and Decision Mathematics 1
2J: Further Mechanics 1 and Further Mechanics 2
2K: Decision Mathematics 1 and Decision Mathematics 2
Paper 1 - Core Pure Mathematics 1 - 1 Hour and 30 minutes - 75 Marks
Paper 2 - Core Pure Mathematics 2 - 1 Hour and 30 minutes - 75 Marks
Paper 3 - Further Mathematics Option 1 (**see below) - 1 Hour and 30 minutes - 75 Marks
Paper 4 - Further Mathematics Option 2 (**see below) - 1 Hour and 30 minutes - 75 Marks
**Paper 3 Option 1
Students take one of the following four options:
3A: Further Pure Mathematics 1
3B: Further Statistics 1
3C: Further Mechanics 1
3D: Decision Mathematics 1
***Paper 4 Option 2
Students take one of the following four options:
4A: Further Pure Mathematics 2
4B: Further Statistics 1
4C: Further Mechanics 1
4D: Decision Mathematics 1
4E: Further Statistics 2
4F: Further Mechanics 2
4G: Decision Mathematics 2