Mathematics Curriculum

GCSE

The Mathematics (9-1) course was introduced for first teaching in September 2015 and its first examination will be in Summer 2018. This new qualification places a much greater emphasis on a students’ ability to demonstrate inititaive and creative thinkng in solving problems.

Pupils begin studying the course content in the Third Year and will develop their knowledge and understanding in the separate areas of Number, Algebra, Geometry and Statistics. Pupil assessment will be based entirely upon written examination, this comprising of three separate Papers, one of which is non-calculator. These are taken at the end of the Fifth Year and each counts equally towards the final grade.

This GCSE course is administered by Edexcel and is offered at two different levels, or Tiers. Higher Tier gives candidates access to grades 9 through to 4 while the Foundation Tier rewards candidates with grades 5 though to 1. In keeping with past practice, and mindful of our commitment to encouraging pupils to strive for the higher grades, all pupils will ordinarily be prepared for examination entry at the Higher Tier.

IB Mathematics (Higher & Standard Level)

Content
Core topics include:

  • Algebra
  • Functions
  • Equations
  • Trigonometry
  • Vectors
  • Calculus
  • Statistics and probability

The Higher Level treatment is probing in its depth and ambitious in the problem types explored. As far as is practically possible, the development of each topic will offer rigorous proof and students will be encouraged to gain an appreciation of the conceptual links between different facets of the subject.

IB Mathematical Studies (Standard Level)

Content
Core topics include:

  • Number and algebra
  • Functions
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Statistics
  • Set Theory
  • Logic
  • Differential calculus
  • Commercial arithmetic.

Students will be encouraged to use appropriate notation and terminology, to organise and present data coherently, to understand the significance of results and to express their mathematical arguments clearly. Teaching examples borrow heavily from real-life situations.

How the course is taught
The Higher Level course is normally taught by two subject teachers, while the Standard Level courses are taught by one teacher. In all courses, students will gain an awareness of the universality of Mathematics as a vehicle of communication and learn about the emphasis and approach adopted by different cultures to certain areas of the subjects. As the course develops, reference is made to the historical context of mathematical ideas and to the mathematicians who pioneered such advances. Use of graphical display calculators (GDCs) and supporting software is interwoven with the teaching programme from the very start. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.

The Extended Essay
Higher Level Higher Level pupils may wish to consider Mathematics as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study Mathematics or a closely-related discipline at university. Students are free to select any topic and it should be noted that the assessment criteria give credit for the nature of the investigation and for the extent that reasoned arguments are applied to an appropriate research question. Students would normally be expected either to extend their knowledge beyond that encountered in the Diploma Programme mathematics course they are studying, or to apply techniques used in their mathematics course to modelling in an appropriately chosen topic. There must be sufficient explanation and commentary throughout the extended essay to ensure that the reader does not lose sight of the purpose of the essay in a mass of mathematical symbols, formulae and analysis. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
Students are provided with a summative task that seeks to ensure firm mathematical foundations before embarking on the course. This is handed in by the end of the first week for assessment.

A Level Mathematics

Content
Edexcel A Level Mathematics consists of two Pure modules and one Applied module. The content of the Applied module is split evenly between Mechanics and Statistics. All elements of the course are now compulsory. All content is assessed at the end of the two year course with three separate exams that count equally toward the final overall grade.

Lower Sixth

  • Pure Mathematics 1
  • Mechanics (applied)
  • Upper Sixth
  • Pure Mathematics 2
  • Statistics (applied)

A Level Further Mathematics

Content
Edexcel A Level Further Mathematics consists of an additonal four modules of study, at least to of which are Pure in their content. All content is assessed at the end of the two year course with four separate exams that count equally toward the final overall grade. The course is delivered in parallel to the A Level Mathematics course but a separate grade for Further Mathematics will be achieved. The course has an element of flexibility and we will select the module to be taken from the starred ones below.

Lower Sixth

  • Pure Mathematics 1
  • Mechanics
  • Further Pure Mathematics 1
  • Further ‘applied’ module (Mechanics or Decision)*

Upper Sixth

  • Pure Mathematics 2
  • Statistics
  • Further Pure Mathematics 2
  • Further module (Pure 3 or Statistics)

How the course is taught
A Level Mathematics is taught by two subject teachers and the content will be shared between them. Whereas A Level Further Mathematics is taught by three subject teachers.

Students are expected to participate in class and need to be willing to share their ideas. To be successful, students will also need to devote time to honing their problem solving skills by working independently outside the classroom. They can expect this to sometimes require the need to undertake some research.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. Students studying A Level Mathematics can expect 4-5 hours of homework each week. Students studying A Level Further Mathematics would expect 8-10 hours of homework. Students are expected to keep up-to-date; the sequential nature of much of the course will cause intense difficulties for students who allow themselves to fall behind.

Preparatory Work
Students are provided with a summative task that seeks to ensure firm mathematical foundations before embarking on the course. This is handed in by the end of the first week for assessment.

 

Selecting a Mathematics course
Students must choose their Mathematics course carefully to meet their intended future studies and possible career choice. Entry to particular university courses in many countries may have specific requirements which will not be met by the Mathematical Studies course. However, as with any Mathematics course, a student’s natural aptitude may be the most important factor in their choice of course. It is likely that all Standard Level students would follow a common course at the start of the programme with the decision of which course to continue being made after a test half way through the first term of the programme.