There are five teachers of Mathematics, all of whom 'wear other hats' of responsibility throughout the school, so we are a versatile group!
The Department is accommodated on the top floor of the Orchard-Lisle Building and includes five classrooms and an office. There is a computer, data projector and inter-active whiteboard in each classroom.
We aim to help pupils to:
- gain satisfaction from the study of mathematics
- build confidence in their mathematical abilities
- achieve their best possible qualifications in mathematics.
At West Buckland, Mathematics is a subject in which our pupils expect to do well. They are generally well motivated and they understand the need to do well in this core subject. We look to get the best out of the pupils. This is often measured by the pupils and parents through a good performance in public examinations; consequently much of the work of the department is geared towards this. We also aim to give the students confidence in dealing with number and mathematical ideas in other areas of their studies to prepare them for the use of mathematics in everyday life and studies beyond when they finish their formal maths classes.
To achieve the best for each pupil we set them into ability groups at the earliest opportunity. As all the maths teaching for each year is at the same time, movement between sets is possible at any time.
At GCSE we aim to enter the top sets at the Higher level. The lowest set will be entered for the Foundation level. The Foundation level is for those students who do not need higher than a grade C and do not need or want to continue with Mathematics.
At AS and A-level our aim is to offer a wide choice of modules to suit the students' needs in their other subjects but also to offer depth for those wanting to take their maths studies beyond A-level.
Pupils are setted throughout their GCSE course but at all times movement between sets is possible and a pupil's set is constantly reviewed on the basis of both tests/exams and class/prep work. Usually the four or five sets are divided by ability continuously from set 1 to set 4/5 but on occasions parallel sets are created.
We have smaller numbers in the lower sets.
New pupils are initially setted on the basis of their entrance exam results, Common Entrance results or performance on other entrance assessments set by the department. At AS and A-level, with mathematics in two of the timetable blocks, students are not in sets.
The selection process of West Buckland means that all pupils are able to be successful in mathematics at GCSE. By making the lower sets as small as is practical we hope to give those who find the subject difficult as much help as possible. Those needing extra help are welcomed after lessons by any member of staff who is free. All teachers are expected to know which of their pupils are on the Learning Support Register. By reference to the Learning Support Register teachers should be aware of the best way they can give support to these pupils.
For very able pupils we do not have arrangements to take GCSE early but aim for them to achieve the highest grade and suggest extension material in preparation for A-level.
We expect all students from Year 7 and upwards to have their own Casio scientific calculator for use at all times. In Year 7 these calculators can be provided and the cost put on their school bill. This is often the best way, as it means all students have the same model of Casio calculator. Safe keeping of the instruction manual is recommended.
Students are encouraged to use calculators only as an aid and not to rely on them for simple calculations. In class students can expect to be told to answer some questions without calculators (eg in mental tests as well as in practice exercises from textbooks and show necessary working if appropriate).
Up to GCSE, in both internal and external examinations, students will have papers in which the use of calculators is not allowed.
When their use is appropriate, students will be taught how to use calculators and to use them efficiently and accurately.
The use of graphical calculators at A-level is acceptable (check Edexcel website for list of models). However, no calculator is permitted for the first pure mathematics unit, C1.
In Years 7, 8 and 9 the syllabus is delivered by means of the website, Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching. Textbooks are also used.
In Years 10 and 11 we use the GCSE Mathematics Revision and Practice by Rayner at the appropriate level.
At AS and A-level we use Heinemann's Modular Mathematics for Edexcel AS and A-level.
UK Mathematics Challenges
We encourage students to take part in the three challenges. These are:
- Junior (UKJMC) for Years 7-8
- Intermediate (UKIMC) for Years 9-11
- Senior (UKSMC) for Years 12-13
All papers consist of 25 multiple choice questions of increasing difficulty.
Students do well and some qualify for further challenges at their level eg "Kangaroo" in Years 9, 10 and 11, and BMO etc at senior level.
Using your Mathematics
Students are encouraged to use their maths. Teachers supply their students with various challenges in the classroom. These challenges are in the form of puzzles, team games and tasks that are 'fun'. As run various Maths clubs where help can be given, maths games played or extension work for the most capable is worked through.