Mathematics is an engaging and creative subject, which is inherent in the world around us, from everyday activities such as buying food and cooking, to more complex ones such as applications of science, the designing of buildings or exploration of space. Mathematics consists of a series of related topics, and the relationships that exist within numerical and algebraic concepts are taught explicitly to enable students to make links and to apply their mathematical skills across the curriculum across a series of related topics.
In Mathematics we encourage problem-solving to develop resilience. It enables us to become better at thinking logically and analytically, developing our ability to work creatively and strategically. The writing of structured solutions, proof and justification of results help you to formulate reasoned arguments. Moreover, the study of maths will lead to excellent numeracy skills and the ability to process and interpret data.
Mathematics is also one of the gatekeepers to accessing certain careers and higher education. As such, it is important to remove barriers and promote social justice in the mathematics classroom to enable all students to, not only achieve their desired goals, but also to keep as many doors open as possible.
As a result of the skills gained from studying mathematics, it is an essential subject for many careers – from engineering, medicine and the sciences, to finance, programming and architecture. We believe that all students can be successful mathematicians, if they are given the tools and confidence to access the content. Our aim is not only to enable students to choose mathematics for further study or their career if they wish, but also to ensure that all, regardless of their future choices, can have a positive experience of mathematics at school, sufficiently equipping them with the skills to apply their mathematics to the real world.
Maths at Key Stage 3
Students are taught in mixed attainment groups in Year 7 and Year 8, with a strong focus on number and algebra, the building blocks of mathematics. Topics are taught through a variety of problem-solving activities, with an emphasis on oracy and encouraging a depth of understanding. We aim to deliver engaging lessons and to foster classrooms with a positive attitude to learning mathematics, where students are collaborative yet independent and risk-taking. All students take part in the learning journey and are encouraged to move away from just giving an answer, to being able to reason and explore different methods to the answer. Wrong answers are seen as a positive stepping stone in their learning. Assessments are taken every half term: students are given feedback as to whether they are Advanced, Secure, Developing or Beginning in each topic area. Tailored feedback lessons are run fortnightly to review homework and/or assessment.
Maths at Key Stage 4
GCSE mathematics is an essential requirement for further study at all levels. That aside, we aim to ensure that students leave Year 11 with a feeling of being able to do mathematics and an enjoyment of the subject.
The key areas of content in the GCSE are as follows:
- Algebra – including forming and solving equations,
- Ratio, proportion and rates of change
- Geometry and measures
We follow the Edexcel exam board. The GCSE is a linear course meaning pupils will be assessed on all content in the Summer of Year 11. There are three papers, each an hour and a half long. One of these papers is non-calculator, with the other two are calculator. Each paper can contain questions on any area of the course.
GCSE mathematics is split into two tiers: Foundation and Higher. All Foundation content is included on the Higher paper. The Higher paper also examines harder content that is not included on the Foundation paper. Students can achieve a grade 1-5 on a Foundation paper and a grade 4-9 on a Higher paper.
The majority of students initially work towards the Higher paper. In Year 9, students are loosely set into attainment groups and as they move towards Year 11, some focus groups are created, depending on the year group needs, to ensure that all students make the progress they are capable of. In year 9 students sit a GCSE mock paper for the first time, which exposes students to GCSE style questions formally and allows teachers and students to track their progress. They continue being exposed to GCSE papers formally at regular intervals. Later, in Year 11, it also informs predicted grades. A final decision about which tier individual pupils are entered into will not be made until the Spring Term of Year 11, following teacher assessment, mocks and discussion with students and parents.
A small group of students follow a supported pathway through KS4. These students take additional mathematics lessons in which they study for functional skills qualifications alongside their GCSE. Functional Skills qualifications are designed to enable students to develop confidence and fluency in the subject. They equip students with the practical skills to get the most out of education, work and everyday life and to help them function more confidently, effectively and independently.
Maths at Key Stage 5
Post 16, Stoke Newington offer A Levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics as well as a Core Maths qualification. Mathematics is the most popular subject to study post 16 at the school, with almost half of the students in the sixth form choosing to study mathematics in some form. As a very sought-after qualification, the study of mathematics demonstrates that you have the ability to think logically, are numerate and can solve problems analytically. Most importantly, students who continue to study mathematics at Stoke Newington enjoy the subject and this love of mathematics sees them through what can be a demanding course.
A level students study two pure mathematics modules, in which GCSE topics such as algebra, trigonometry and coordinate geometry are explored at a higher level. New topics such as calculus will also be introduced. Many of the topics in pure mathematics are interesting in their own right, but they are also an important foundation for other branches of mathematics. Students also study one applied module which involves the study of both mechanics and statistics. Mechanics applies mathematics to physical problems and examines topics such as the motion of objects and how they respond to the action of forces. Students also learn the technique of mathematical modelling which turns a complicated physical problem into a simpler one that can be analysed and solved using mathematical methods. Statistics is about the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. Students also explore probability that can be used, for example, to demonstrate why most gambling games are a very poor bet. You will also formulate, test and evaluate hypotheses. The Mathematics A level will be assessed on three (two pure and one applied including statistics and mechanics) 2 hour exams all of which will be weighted as 33.3% in the calculation of the final grade awarded.
The department also offers an A Level in Further Mathematics for students who wish to explore the subject in more depth. Study includes looking at complex numbers, polar coordinates and advanced calculus. Further Mathematics is becoming an increasingly desirable qualification for some degree courses in Engineering, Natural Science and Economics and is a prerequisite for many mathematical degrees. Students studying the Further Mathematics option have twice the teaching time allocated. Students need to complete four examinations to complete the Further Maths A level. Students are required to do two Core Further Mathematics modules plus a choice of one of the four additional modules from: further pure maths 1 and 2, further mechanics 1 and 2, further statistics 1 and 2 or decision maths 1 and 2. All students in the group take the same modules. This is decided by the group by the end of Year 12. Each exam is 90 minutes and counts for 25% of the marks.
Core Maths refers to a level 3 maths qualification that can be taken alongside A levels or other qualifications. It is developed with support from employers and higher education, and is designed to:
- Consolidate and build on mathematical understanding
- Foster the ability to think mathematically and apply mathematical techniques in unfamiliar situations with confidence
- Support students’ learning in other subject areas they are studying
- Prepare students for the range of real-life mathematical demands of further study and employment
It is aimed at students with a Grade 5 or above in GCSE Mathematics, who wish to continue studying the subject post 16 but who do not want to take A level Mathematics. It carries the same UCAS points as an AS level and is graded A-E.
Every year our students in all key stages enter the national competitions of the UKMT Mathematics Challenges. In addition we send a number of teams to local competitions, such as the Senior Team Mathematics challenge (6th Form). The department also supports with designing whole school activities such as Spy Day and Trading Trainers for creative days.
Annually, several of our students attend Master Classes run by the Royal Institution which take place at Queen Mary University of London and take part in MAT/STEP problem solving courses offered by Kings.
Career and future pathways
Many of our students go on to study mathematics either as a single subject at university or as joint honours. A degree in mathematics opens the way to many and varied career choices.
Possible careers include those in engineering, medicine, actuarial science, operational research, and financial and IT related professions, among many others.