The mathematics department at Lacon Childe School is committed to providing our students with the tools they need to make sense of a universe which can only be understood by the language of maths. Of course we want them to have the good mental arithmetic and basic functional skills that are needed for their everyday lives, but we also want them to ask: ‘why is that true?’; ‘is there a pattern there?’; ‘how can I explain that?’ and ‘does that answer make sense?’.
In short, we want them to be independent problem solvers; as will their future employers.
Key Stage 3
As soon as students start mathematics at Lacon Childe, they should view each year as a progressive step towards building the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the GCSE course at the end of Year 11.
In the first two years, students are timetabled for three hours of maths lessons per week. They are placed in banded groups at the start of Year 7 which allows us to focus on reinforcing, developing and using key concepts that are already partially familiar to them from the excellent grounding they receive at their primary schools.
Year 8 is when students will really start to utilise their problem solving skills, as they become more competent at linking ideas from different areas of mathematics and developing resilience in their ability to work through more open ended or challenging problems. Students are taught in sets from Year 8 onwards to ensure that they are accessing the right level of foundation or higher tier material. These are carefully monitored using regular assessments, performance data and discussions with the students themselves.
A detailed breakdown of the content delivered and skills developed across both Key Stages can be found in the document below: ‘Maths Learning Ladder Descriptors’.
Key Stage 4
From Year 9 onwards, we start the actual GCSE content and students receive seven hours of timetabled lessons per fortnight to allow for the significant amount of new content which must be delivered. We follow the Pearson Edexcel 9-1 Mathematics GCSE specification which is assessed at the end of Year 11 via three, ninety minute examinations. All three exams must be entered at either foundation tier (grades 1 – 5) or higher tier (grades 4 – 9).
The topics taught within each tier are summarised below:
TOPICS TAUGHT WITHIN EACH TIER AT KEYSTAGE 4
At Key Stage 3, your child can expect to sit one assessment test per half term within their normal maths lessons. Once per year, this test will take place in the hall instead, as a mock exam.
At Key Stage 4, students complete a topic test at the end of each of the taught units, again within their maths lessons. They will also sit extra mock examinations in the hall which are designed to approximate the real GCSE exam experience as closely as possible, depending on their stage within the course.
Revision materials and past papers can be found on the school network or by using the OneDrive link in the ‘Useful Websites & Links’ section.
Extra support is always available in the form of maths help sessions which are run at lunchtimes by members of the department. We also offer comprehensive revision sessions after school for Year 11 students in preparation for their GCSE exams.
We offer discounted revision guides and workbooks to students and advise that they obtain these early in Year 9 in order to assist them with their studies.
You can help your child even more by:
- ensuring that they have the necessary equipment: ruler, compass, protractor, scientific calculator;
- discussing their maths work and checking that they are up to date with homework and revision as relevant;
- reminding them to use maths help sessions at school if they are having difficulty with a particular topic;
- encouraging independence in their learning by suggesting that they complete questions from their workbook or past papers to supplement their class and homework;
- doing puzzles with them or making mental maths questions part of everyday conversations.
For extra information regarding supporting Year 11 students, please click on the link below to refer to the recent presentation to parents: ‘Maths Department Presentation to Y11 Parents’.
Useful Websites & Links
- ampsmaths at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYtV7yDdN2Vaek3KkD-mhKQ
- MyMaths at https://www.mymaths.co.uk
- BBC Bitesize at http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z38pycw
- GCSE specification at http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/mathematics-2015.html
- GCSE shared resources at https://laconchildeschool-my.sharepoint.com/personal/amps_j_lacon-childe_org_uk/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?folderid=1898a3cdcc06141f7a89c686a91cb60e6&authkey=AUJBdrOimoRJ5h7kriaF4lg
Suggested Reading List
- Maths for Mums & Dads (Mike Askey & Rob Eastaway)
- Fermat’s Last Theorem (Simon Singh)
- Just Six Numbers (Martin Rees)
- 17 Equations that Changed the World (Ian Stewart)
- Flatland (Edwin Abbott)
… or any popular maths, puzzle or lateral thinking book!