Welcome to the Mathematics Department. Mathematics is a core subject with every pupil completing a full GCSE in KS4. Pupils experience excellent teaching from an enthusiastic mathematics team. Pupils experience challenge during their lessons and are encouraged to look beyond the classroom and apply the maths in context.
There is a strong culture of academic success in the department. We achieve consistently strong results and are always reflecting on our practice to see where we can make further improvements.
2020: 90%, 9-4, 73% 9-5 (Centre Assessed Grades)
2019: 83% 9-4, 65% 9-5
2018: 87% 9-4, 65% 9-5
2017: 83%, 9-4; 55% 9-5
2016: 86% A*-C
2015: 81% A*-C
2014: 83% A*-C
Teaching for Mastery at St Richards
In September 2020 we introduced a new approach to mathematics at St Richards’ by incorporating and developing teaching for mastery ideas into our practice. The use of the phrase “teaching for mastery” refers to the classroom concepts and approaches that best help pupils to “master” the mathematics they are taught. These concepts and approaches include incorporating a new KS3 scheme of work where concepts are looked at for longer and in more depth with the aim of pupils’ achieving a deeper, more connected, and more fluid understanding of the mathematics they are taught.
Teaching for Mastery: 5 Big Ideas
As part of our move towards teaching for mastery we are working with the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) and Sussex MathsHub and incorporating their “5 Big Ideas” which underpin teaching for mastery. These concepts form the foundations of the new scheme of work taught in year 7, with elements introduced into our teaching for the other year groups. These are:
Challenge and Support
Our belief is that all children can understand and succeed in mathematics. Each key stage 3 cohort has a booster class for pupils who find maths particularly challenging. In these lessons pupils focus on core topics which include the key numeracy concepts and skills. As part of our teaching for mastery approach, we have adapted the scheme of work further for these pupils to give them the time to really understand and practice key ideas that are required before moving onto further content.
As part of our teaching for mastery approach pupils study similar mathematical concepts at the same time, regardless of their prior attainment. Support is provided through greater scaffolding. A core idea within teaching for mastery is that those pupils who grasp an idea quickly are not rushed on to new content, instead they cover the same content as all other pupils but are challenged further by exploring concepts in greater depth and given questions where they need to apply the ideas to new and unfamiliar problem-solving contexts.
For further detail regarding teaching for mastery ideas, please visit: https://www.ncetm.org.uk/teaching-for-mastery/mastery-explained/
The curriculum map for KS3 teaching for pupils starting at the school from September 2020 is shown below.
Pupils start formally studying for their GCSE mathematics exams at the start of Year 9. Their GCSE exam consists of three papers at either foundation (aiming for grades 1 – 5) or higher (aiming for grades 4 – 9) tier, each 90 minutes long. One of the exams is a non-calculator exam so it is important that pupils have mastered the essential numeracy skills covered earlier in their school career. The other two papers allow the use of a calculator.
The topics studied include:
Foundation and Higher Tiers:
Graphs, Tables and Charts
Fractions and Percentages
Equations, Inequalities and Sequences
Averages and Range
Perimeter, Area and Volume
Straight Line Graphs
Ration and Proportion
Pythagoras and Trigonometry
Constructions, Loci and Bearings
Quadratic Equations and Graphs
Congruence and Similarity
Other Types of Graphs
Higher Tier Only:
Simultaneous Equations with a Non-Linear Equation
Sine Rule & Cosine Rule
Solving Quadratics using the Quadratic Formula or Completing the Square
Solving Equations and Inequalities Graphically
There is a large amount of content in both tiers and it is important that pupils make the most of every lesson and complete additional independent work on areas that they identify as development areas. We do offer intervention sessions that become extensive when pupils reach Year 11.
For every unit studied, pupils are assessed using a mixture of class, homework and formal end of unit assessment. Pupils are provided with written feedback on success and areas for development and are given the opportunity to address any misconceptions.
Pupils are generally set two pieces of homework per week in Mathematics. We make use of three websites for the majority of homework tasks, Times Table Rock Stars (mainly year 7), MathsWatch and Hegarty Maths. The last two websites contain support videos attached to the majority of questions, meaning that pupils can access support with the subject without the pressure on parents being able to understand and explain the work. Please do remind your child of this feature if they are ever struggling.
Chapter Tests and Mock Exams
Throughout the KS3 and KS4 curriculum pupils will take assessments in class on the topics covered. These will be marked and feedback on them returned on a ‘yellow form’. Please look out for these in your child’s maths book and sign to acknowledge that you have seen and discussed each assessment. Pupils will begin to sit full GCSE papers as mock examinations from the end of year 10. Pupils are given detailed feedback of their performance after every mock exam series in year 11 showing the areas of the course that each pupil needs to work on in order to progress.