Mathematics

Mr Southward and his successful UKMT senior team .  Tyler, Jenny, Heidi, and Tina. 

Mathematics Department 

Staff

  • Chris Southward - Head of Department – currently teaching primarily sixth form Mathematics & Further Mathematics, and  Years 10 &11 as they approach their GCSEs, 
  • Alan Bradford – works part-time, three days per week, and deals with the years 7,8,9 & GCSE sets in years 10 and 11. (year 10 stream have 50% of their lessons with Mr. Newton)
  • Howard Newton - works part-time, two days per week, and deals solely with 50% of the year 12 work in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

 

Recent years have seen significantly high achievement in sixth form results which has attracted a welcome new collection of really able pupils from mainland China. Our year 12, therefore, now has a remarkably large Mathematics contingent, many of whom have opted for Further Mathematics also. This group have been shared between Mr Southward & Mr Newton. The two teachers are equally at home delivering all of the core and pure mathematics but we deliver the applied modules separately, Mr Newton is teaching the Statistics modules and Mr Southward the Decision and Mechanics..

Teaching in the Mathematics Department.

The Department seeks to provide input to the education of our students entirely in line with the School’s aims as stated below.

Aims

  1. To provide good quality education for boys and girls aged 4 to 18.
  2. To ensure that each pupil achieves their full potential both academically and socially, with each child being treated as an individual.
  3. To sustain a safe and caring boarding environment that produces successful, confident and happy children who are prepared for life beyond school.

Note to Aim 1 – the provision to our younger students of Primary age and younger is the remit of the Deputy Head Mr. Thomson and his staff. There is a thorough briefing of the Department at the transition stage and the individual pupils’ files will retain their early progress and relevant developmental comment.   

Note to Aim 3 – The Mathematics staff aim to provide role models for their students and to prepare them for life beyond school. We try to demonstrate that professional people can be tidy, punctual, polite respectful and still be happy in life. We encourage the other qualities in our students significantly by the simple expedient philosophy that we prefer students to have the confidence to “have a go” at a problem. It is acceptable to be incorrect, it is wrong to not try.

We deliver the various Mathematics programmes in sufficiently good time to allow for a properly organised period of revision before any examination season. Revision booklets are provided if deemed beneficial for any particular student’s learning style. 

Key Stage 3

Taught in sets by ability if numbers are sufficient otherwise in a mixed ability group.

Years 7-9 follow the Frameworking Mathematics Course which has a text book per year in 2 levels. The teacher guides set out lesson plans ensuring the full syllabus is covered.  Homework books based on the class text books are used for some preps.

The text book work is supplemented by the use of key stage 3 Mathswatch and ‘10 quicks’ programmes. Practical work is done as appropriate (data-handling , measures). Games are sourced from various bespoke websites.

Mental arithmetic is tested weekly.

Prep.

There are 2 prep sessions (after school supervised time for traditional homework activity, non- boarders are also welcome) per week for each year group. A variety of resources are used; the Frameworking books, vocabulary and spelling learning, worksheets from mental maths books and revision. Differentiation is demonstrable by setting level and quantity of work as appropriate.

Special Needs

SEN pupils largely follow the topics that the class are studying but use either the ‘Target’ books or differentiated worksheets as appropriate. Mental arithmetic will be done with the learning support assistant. The learning support department provides learning support for some pupils in lessons.

Gifted and Talented

High ability pupils are recognised and supported to achieve their full potential. Extension work is provided within the text books and beyond this extra resources from levels 7+ are used from a variety of sources. There is a Master Class for year 9 pupils from across the region which runs for 6 week-ends November – December for which we nominate suitable pupils.

Marking and Assessment

Prep and mental tests are normally marked in class to provide immediate feedback. Classwork is closely monitored and checked regularly. A formal assessment in the form of a SATs  paper takes place termly and is teacher marked and graded. Pupils have target levels set. 

Key Stage 4 - notes and content

Notes

Government now requires GCSE students to take their final examinations in the May/June season of year 11 and so this summer’s cohort are the first tranche to take these non-modular GCSE s until Government policy changes again.

To serve that purpose, the school has purchased a new text-book designed to help deliver the material in a naturally progressive way. The work, for instance, in the handling data part of the syllabus is now spread throughout the entire two years rather than existing in one homogenous lump.

We do not follow the chapters entirely in order, but we do adhere to a “road plan” recommended by the examination board. Different pupils will seek to progress further more rapidly in some subject areas than others and we will aim to extend each student to their potential.

Additionally, whilst our students are streamed, they are not sentenced for  two years to either stream at the beginning of Year 10; there is constant  fluidity and our frequent and regular testing regime allows the department to re-allocate students (up or down, for want of a better phrase) whenever is convenient. The particular student (and parent/carers) will have been part of the discussion process when such changes occur.

Limehouse School also offers the study required for the advanced diploma in Further Mathematics at GCSE level for those pupils who are going to probably study Maths in VIth form.

Similarly we now offer a Certificate in the Use of Mathematics which provides a recognised functional statement of Mathematical ability for the pupils who have trouble accessing the formal GCSE curriculum.

We have also introduce a course of study leading to a GCSE in Functional Mathematics level2, this is accepted by some higher institutions as an alternative to a straight GCSE in Maths.

We are equipped to deliver a GCSE in Statistics and have done so with significant success.

Content

Subject content for our subject doesn’t vary a great deal whatever the prevailing government/Ofsted thinking. Mathematics teaching at GCSE can be comfortably categorised under three headings with the below detailed topics.

Number and Algebra. (Basic Arithmetical techniques and the basis or all future study)

Multiples and factors, prime factors, approximations, lower & upper bounds, fractions (all four operations), ratios (direct and indirect), percentages, expansion and factorising, powers & roots, re-arranging formulae, substitution and solving equations, quadratic equations, simultaneous equations, sequences, graphs (linear and quadratic).

Data Handling (Statistics and Probability)

Collection and various displays of data, questionnaires, averages and range as preliminary measure of spread, interpretation of graphs, correlation, and probability work including exclusive and exhaustive events, tree diagrams and conditional probability.

Shape Space and Measure (Geometry)

Angles in all polygons, circle theorems, unit conversion, distance time graphs, bearings, loci and constructions.

Vith Form

Mathematics at “A” level is delivered in six modules over two years; four core modules, imaginatively entitled C1,C2,C3 & C4 and two other disciplines. At Limehouse this will usually be Decision Mathematics (D1) and a Statistics Module (S1). Students will attempt the first two Core modules and one of the others in year 12, and complete the set in year 13.

Further Mathematics comprises a further six modules; four more Pure Mathematics studies (FP1-4) and another two complementary modules. This could be more of the same D2, S2 or perhaps Mechanics M1 & M2. There are extension modules in these disciplines for real Mechanics aficionados or those who are terrified of some of the more extreme Pure modules. Very few schools offer all four Further Pure modules but we pride ourselves on being able to offer the entire spectrum of choice for our students. Some of these studies are so rarely taken up nationally that there is no commercial value in a text book (hard copy) being published, so the students study from the e-text book (and a hard copy) provided specifically for the syllabus. We have provided a “best fit” Further Mathematics text book recently to assist in providing additional support to the principal teaching.

Marking and Assessment

In line with the school’s marking and assessment policy and in order to give the department a clear view of each student’s progress, students are assessed on performance, standard of prep and attendance every three weeks. Regular testing under near exam conditions allow the department to discover the level at which a student is working and also which topics they are finding problematic. House points are regularly awarded ( at least weekly) and Order marks are used to highlight less satisfactory achievements. Peer marking is used as an additional tool and healthy competition is encouraged amongst those students to whom this approach appeals.

External Competition

We enter Mathematical competitions for volunteer participants. Our team selection this year took an entire week-end to determine and it was tremendous to hear the competitors who had not made the selection applaud those who had. The team went on to significant success and we have issued a challenge to all schools to try and beat us next year. Individuals have done extremely well in the UKMT Challenge competition. Seventeen gold awards, who went on to win nine merits in the Kangaroo (second round competition). British Olympiad challenges also produced Merits, proving our students to be of the finest quality.

 

C.J.Southward. March 2015