Overview

At Aberdare Community High School we believe that Mathematics is a subject that all pupils can thrive in. It is one of the Departments main aims to ensure that Mathematics is accessible to all. We endeavour to do this by passing on the love of the subject through engaging lesson, by ensuring pupil progress is monitored and by providing opportunities for extra-curricular activities throughout the subject that pupils will enjoy. Mathematics is the key to understanding and exploring the world. It is a subject that was taught in schools 500 years ago, and will still most-probably be taught in another 500 years time. Everything from iPods and iPhones to space rockets, from Satnavs to computers, depends on mathematics to make it work.

Mathematics is regularly used in our everyday life:-

  • Working out our daily bills
  • Budgeting our annual holidays
  • Working out the cooking time for our Sunday Roast
  • Ensuring one has the correct change when out shopping
  • Deciding which is the best mobile phone tariff to choose.

At Aberdare Community School it is our endeavour to create confidence in all pupils to use mathematics in everyday life, to communicate mathematically, and to face mathematical problems with confidence and without fear. There are six fundamental aims in the department.

Aims

  1. To develop, maintain and stimulate pupils’ curiosity, maintaining their interest and enjoyment of Mathematics.
  2. To develop pupils’ understanding with mathematical concepts, principles, methods and terms.
  3. To develop pupils’ understanding to see how Mathematics relates to life outside the school.
  4. To enable independent and group work for all pupils.
  5. To enable each pupil to have equal opportunities in Mathematics and to experience success in their work.
  6. To encourage pupils to develop skills and sensible opinions about Mathematics, and the ability to debate their opinions reasonably.

Objectives

The objectives directly inform the department’s six aims, and intend to show how we will operate.

  1. The department aims to teach in a meaningful way, providing opportunities for pupils to use their skills to solve problems and investigate. Each teacher aims to use a variety of techniques within each teaching unit, and within each lesson if possible. The department encourages all pupils to take an active part in the lessons. The department sets individual targets for all pupils related to their ability and understanding. The department also encourages pupils to work to their full potential, and to have experience of achievement. Teachers help pupils to recognise the relationship between different aspects of Mathematics to encourage curiosity and interest.
  2. The National Curriculum for Mathematics is used to write schemes of work. Teachers encourage pupils to use their understanding and mathematical skills verbally and in writing.
  3. Teachers in the department refer to work in other parts of the curriculum, providing directive and open-ended tasks. Open-ended investigations which are appropriate to pupil’s attainment level are used.
  4. Modules have been planned to offer opportunities for individual and group work. Several strategies are available: one-to-one support, small and large group and discussion work, work where resources are shared and individual tasks. The department offers opportunities for pupils to participate in planning their work by setting individual targets. The pupils can set targets through discussion with the teacher. Leadership is important when pupils start to take more responsibility. Challenging work which meets the needs of all pupils must be offered.
  5. All learning groups follow differentiated schemes of work. Tests are given as independent assessments which reinforce other parts of teacher assessments. The tests help pupils assess their success and understand which targets they have reached, and where additional work is needed.
  6. Members of the department refer to the way Mathematics is used in society so that pupils realise the true potential of the subject. Discussion is encouraged as part of problem solving, investigations, group work and data collection. Pupils are encouraged to develop conclusions based on their work. The importance of Mathematics as a cross-curricular skill is recognised. The department is active in helping other parts of the curriculum, and develops staff awareness of using mathematical skills and techniques.
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Key Stage 3

Year 7

In year 7 it is our aim to pass on the beauty of the subject with a curriculum that engages and excites pupils. We work closely with our feeder schools to ensure that the transition from the Primary to Secondary sector is as smooth as possible so that the potential of our pupils is fully realised. It is our aim to ensure that all pupils feel safe, valued members of the class where their happiness is one of our main priorities. The Scheme of Work for Year 7 is in line with the National Curriculum, not only delivering subject specific content but developing pupils’ skills to ensure they can become all rounded citizens.

Although pupils will be set in Year 7, this will only occur once the pupils have had a chance to settle into their new surroundings and even then there will be opportunities for movement between sets if warranted. All learning groups follow differentiated schemes of work and work is further differentiated within individual classes. There is also an enrichment programme in place for the more able and talented pupils. The link below provides further ideas for enrichment in Mathematics.

http://nrich.maths.org/frontpage

Year 8

maths2

Year 8 is an exciting time and in Mathematics we look to push our pupils even further. In this Year group we will introduce the idea of writing Revision Pages and this really encourages the pupils to think about and break down their own thinking, this is a process that has been shown to improve results.

We follow the National curriculum throughout Key Stage 3 and our scheme of work is designed not only to meet the needs of each pupil but also to stretch each individual as far as they can go. There are also numerous extra curricular clubs provided and pupils are encouraged to attend.

At this point in a pupils career it will also be an opportune time to purchase a calculator. As a department we recommend the purchase of a Casio Calculator. This is highly recommended as the software we use within the classroom shows Casio Calculator on the interactive whiteboard. We also believe it to be the easiest calculator to use.

Year 9

Year 9 is a vital year group for Mathematics. It is an important time leading into the GCSE course. In Mathematics, students will study topics that will appear in their GCSE Examination regularly throughout Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9). It is vital that students realise the importance of the level of study required. Mathematics often builds on prior knowledge and each lesson, module, term, year is very important. Therefore as a subject area we strongly support the Attendance Policy of the school.

Learning ladders are used throughout the department ensuring that pupils are aware of what level they are currently achieving and how to progress to the next level. At the end of Year 9 pupils will be re-set on a series of data. This analysis with the strength of teacher/pupils relationships will aid us in deciding which tier of GCSE the pupils will study in Year 10 and Year 11. Mathematics is a compulsory subject at GCSE level.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE) - years 10 & 11

We continue our journey of mathematics in Key Stage 4 with the GCSE goal in sight. Teaching methods remain the same but become more focussed on examination preparation as the date draws nearer. Pupils follow the WJEC specification and will study at either a Higher or Foundation level. As a department we spend a considerable amount of time ensuring pupils are entered into the tier that is most suited to them.

We choose courses for our students that are appropriate to their needs. The most talented and enthusiastic mathematicians may take the GCSE a year early if we believe they are capable of gaining a grade A*. There is no coursework element in GCSE Mathematics. Those who find mathematics a real challenge may also take the examination early to ensure they get a grade and possibly leave them free in Year 11 to explore other aspects of learning. The majority of students follow an appropriate modular or linear course and we monitor levels of achievement regularly to ensure that pupils reach their potential.

Key Stage 5 (Sixth form)

In the sixth form, students will follow the WJEC specifications. In year 12 all students will study the C1 and C2 Modules and complete their AS with S1. Each module consists of a paper that lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. Calculators may not be used in the C1 module but are allowed in all the other modules. In year 13 all students will study the C3 and C4 modules and complete their A-level with M1. Each module consists of a 1 hour 30 minutes paper. There is no coursework in any of the modules.

At this level of study we explore topics such as calculus, geometry, algebra and statistics. These can lead to a variety of interesting careers. Calculus remains the gateway for all engineering, science and finance careers. Pupils with a strong grasp on calculus will find many opportunities available to them including some of the more lucrative careers. Statistics and Probability is standard in social sciences including Sociology and Psychology, it is also part of the core skills needed for business. It will come in handy whether your building financial models at Goldman Sachs or Marketing plans at Ford. Algebra is central to problem solving and is used in numerous careers including animators, engineers and astronomers to name but a few. Geometry is on of the main fields in Mathematics today. Advanced geometry is key in designing search engines including google. For more information on maths careers visit www.mathscareers.org.uk

Teaching methods

Here at Aberdare Community School we use a variety of teaching techniques allowing opportunities for individual and group work. Several strategies are available: one-to-one support, small and large group and discussion work, work where resources are shared and individual tasks. The department offers opportunities for pupils to participate in planning their work by setting individual targets. Challenging work which meets the needs of all pupils must be offered. The Mathematics’ Department strives to deliver enterprising, innovative, engaging and high impact Mathematics lessons.

There is a clear structure to every lesson with a minimum of three parts (majority of lessons are split into more). Not only is content being taught but links are readily made with skills that students can transfer into the outside world. The use of the new facilities of the school will be fully utilised and resources such as i-pad, laptops and interactive white boards help bring the subject to life.

The Mathematics lessons contain activities for all types of learners and we strive to ensure the potential of each individual is recognised. There are rigorous monitoring processes in place to help tailor the pupils’ education to meet their needs and Assessment for Learning is a process that is used regularly. The Assessment for Learning process can take many forms but is essentially when a teacher truly understands where a child is on a particular learning curve and is able to inform that child not only of the objectives of where the pupil needs to be but can inform them on how to get there. This is vital for the pupil to be able to truly progress.

Extra Curricular Activities

The following extra curricular clubs will be available from September 2013:

  • GCSE Mathematics’ Club (After School)
  • A Level Maths Club (After School)
  • Mathlete’s Challenge Club (Lunchtime)
  • Chess Club (Lunchtime)
  • Additional Mathematics GCSE

The Mathematics’ Department will also be looking into the possibly of running the following trips

  • Euro Disney
  • UKMT Maths Challenge

Further Information available from Mrs Innes (Leader of Learning Mathematics)

Links