Key Stage 3 Mathematics:
We have a focus on Mastery, which is taught throughout years 7 and 8. Mastery in maths aims to give all students a deep, long term, secure and adaptable understanding of the topics.
For this, we will be teaching pupils to allow for:
- Fluency (rapid recall of facts and concepts learned);
- Mathematical reasoning;
- Application of maths to solve problems and give conjectures.
As the name suggests, Mastery is mastering the basics. Having a strong platform for the future and increasing students’ confidence, whilst experiencing fun and challenge. This entails ensuring every student has the key skills, whilst challenging those secure procedurally, with challenging activities and investigations; looking to extend their understanding through the application of these skills, rather than teaching new topics.
Within Mastery, students learn by the process of consolidation and accumulation. Having worked on the essential skills, the foundations, in Years 7and 8, we then move on to the other aspects of the subject in Year 9, that are underpinned by these. The same method of delivery and assessment is used. Towards the end of Year 9, we start to transition from Key Stage 3, towards GCSE, to get ready for Years 10 and 11.
All students sit a baseline test when they join the school. We use the results of this test, along with students’ Key Stage 2 maths standardised score, to determine their initial maths set and target grades. Students are taught in sets from very early in year 7. Confidence plays an important part in students’ developing understanding appropriate in maths, and we believe that having students in an appropriate ability set, where they do not feel they are struggling relative to their peers, is essential. We regularly analyse students’ progress to ensure that they are in the most appropriate set.
Maths challenges, activities, investigations and individualised tasks are used to extend, enrich and engage students. Annually, we enter 100 year 7 and 8 students into the national ‘UKMT Maths Junior Challenge’ as well as a good number of Year 9s into the Intermediate one. We also send a team to the South West regional UKMT Team Challenge. Our close links with Bath Spa University enable us to offer additional hands-on enrichment activities to students in Year 7.
We are very lucky to have Higher Level Teaching Assistants within the Maths Faculty, who provide intervention to students in small groups. The purpose of this intervention and support is to enable students to gain a deeper understanding, to correct misconceptions, give them greater confidence and hence facilitate further progress.
All students have access to the Hegarty Maths website, hegartymaths.com. Homework usually utilises this site, where there are video explanations and then quiz questions on the topic.
Key Stage 4 Mathematics:
Whilst we keep many of the same aspects of Mastery, mentioned above, the main difference is that the units of work are broader, to ensure coverage of the GCSE syllabus.
The GCSE Mathematics course is Linear and 100% examined. This means that students sit all the exams at the end of year 11 and there is not any coursework, Individual Skills Assignments (ISAs) or controlled assessment, which contribute to the qualification. Students start studying GCSE Mathematics at the beginning of year 10, although as this builds on all of their mathematical learning, everything they have studied until this point is relevant.
GCSE maths, irrespective of exam board or tier of entry, consists of three papers, sat in May and June of year 11:
- Paper 1 – 1 ½ hrs – Non-Calculator;
- Paper 2 – 1 ½ hrs – Calculator;
- Paper 3 – 1 ½ hrs – Calculator.
We enter students for the Edexcel GCSE Maths exam, code 1MA1, where each paper is worth 80 marks.
Students who are tracking at grades from 1 to 3 will be entered for the Foundation tier exam. Those tracking from 5 to 9 will be entered for Higher tier. For students who are tracking at grade 4, the majority are usually entered for, indeed opt for, Higher Tier, although the decision is taken on an individual basis, taking into account the students' strengths, preferences and performance in mocks.
The three exam papers for both Higher and Foundation tier, can cover topics, on:
- Ratio, Proportion and rates of change;
- Geometry and Measures;
- Statistics and Probability.
From the start of year 11, students are encouraged to attend the various revision sessions that we offer. These include:
- Foundation Revision of a Specific Topic;
- Higher Revision of a Specific Topic;
- Revision support on Students’ Maths Problems;
- Revision on the “Level 2 Further Maths Qualification”.
In addition to after-school revision sessions to support students in their studies, we also offer Intensive Revision Days in the holidays to give further support before their exams.
We enter two to three classes of Year 10 students for the national ‘UKMT Maths Intermediate Challenge’. Each year, a mathematician from the Further Maths Support Programme visits to speak to students contemplating taking mathematics post-GCSE.
As at Key Stage 3, all students have access to the Hegarty Maths website, “hegartymaths.com”, as well as being given tasks, they are encouraged to use the “Memri” and “fix up; 5” resources. These offer individually tailored revision and practice on topics they have completed and also struggled with.
Key Stage 4 GCSE Statistics:
Maths is a compulsory and core subject for all students until the end of their sixteenth year, because it is seen as essential for logic, problem-solving and many everyday activities, as well as other subjects. Having analysed which maths other subjects use, we saw that these are overwhelmingly topics that are required as part of the statistics strand. The subjects included: science; engineering; design and technology: computer science; food technology and business studies. It also contributes 10% to GCSE Citizenship and the geography field work paper, which is predominantly statistical calculations and awareness. At GCSE, students even need an understanding of averages and probability to support their persuasive writing in English, and in media studies to a larger extent. At A-Level, the list of subjects grows even longer and the depth of understanding required is even greater.
This use of statistics ranges from interpreting tables and graphs, detailing and/or calculating averages or probabilities, through to using quartiles, Spearman’s rank, histograms and standard deviation. The first topics are taught to all students, some later ones only to students sitting in the higher tier, others are not met unless the students sit GCSE statistics or A-Level maths.
To support these subjects, blocks of statistics have been interleaved into the maths curriculum across years 7 to 10. The sequencing of lessons ensures that topics build on previous knowledge and complement the work undertaken in other curriculum areas.
However, studying just the aspects of statistics needed for GCSE maths, does not meet the requirements of many other subjects. For this reason, in 2019 we introduced GCSE statistics in year 10, completing the course by the end of the academic year and broadening the qualifications offered to students. This ensured that all students had the pre-requisite knowledge and understanding of statistics required in their other subject areas when they needed it in year 11.
Whilst we give parents the opportunity to let us know if they believe GCSE Statistics is not in the interest of their child, all students have to date been entered for the qualification, gained a grade and prepared themselves for their other subjects as a consequence.
The GCSE Statistics exam is tiered with Higher and Foundation, and consists of two papers, which are sat in June. Both are calculator papers. We use the Edexcel Exam Board.
See the rationale behind GCSE Statistics
Key Stage 5 Mathematics:
We are delighted to be able to offer both A-Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics in the sixth form. Both are popular options and the numbers of students pursuing degrees in mathematics and related fields (such as engineering, physics and computing) are continuing to rise. Students applying for Universities which excel in mathematics, such as Oxford and Warwick, are required to take the “Sixth Term Examination Paper” (STEP). Other students opt to sit for the “Advanced Extension Award”. We support and prepare students for both of these examinations.
To support the students’ studies, enrichment opportunities and mathematical challenges are utilised. We enter all students studying maths in the sixth form for the “UKMT” individual senior maths challenge, and others additionally take part in the “UKMT” team challenge, the “British Maths Olympiad” and the “British Maths Olympiad for Girls”. In recent years, a number have chosen to go on a week’s residential course at Villier’s Park in Cambridge, which is associated with the University of Cambridge, for either mathematics or engineering. We also run trips to seminars at Warwick University.
To aid students in their studies, we have invested in the latest textbooks for A-Level Maths and Further Maths, as well as ensuring that students have individual access to the “Pearson” interactive digital resource. In addition, students have logins to the “Maths Net” A-Level website. We also run weekly revision sessions for students, as well as are available at other times.
We follow the Edexcel syllabus for both Mathematics and Further Mathematics.
There is also the opportunity for sixth formers to attend lessons, exclusively for sixth formers, to re-take GCSE maths, targeting a higher grade. Whilst this is predominantly for any students who did not achieve a Grade 4 in GCSE maths, we have also had students who achieved grades 5 and 6 in Year 11, aiming for a 6 and 7, to gain access to their preferred degree course, post-sixth form.
See our Sixth Form A-Level Mathematics / Further Mathematics pages for further details.
Enrichment Opportunities in Mathematics:
We offer a wide variety of enrichment in Mathematics. As mentioned above, there are the National UK Mathematics Trust Challenges; both for individual students and teams. When it is held, we also compete in the South West Mathematics Challenge. We work annually with Bath Spa University to offer enrichment for students in Year 7 and with the further Maths Support Programme for students in Year 11.
We offer in-house enrichment to our students and attend other suitable events. These have also included events organised by The University of Bath, The University of Bristol, The Institute of Mathematics and The Russell Group Universities.
The John of Gaunt School offers additional extracurricular involvement in “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” (STEM). We take students to the “STEM” event and careers fair at Thorpe Park when it is available.
The equipment required by students in maths is:
- Black pen;
- Green Pen;
- Scientific calculator.
- Spare pen;
Exam boards ask that we do not loan equipment out in exams. This is because not all equipment works in the same way. Scientific calculators are the best example of this, where different makes and models may not have keys in the same positions and can offer different functions. It is important that students learn how to optimise their use of their calculator for the calculator exam papers. This will ensure that students can use it to its maximum advantage. It is therefore essential that students have the equipment listed above for exams and all lessons.
All of this equipment can be purchased on ParentPay and collected from the Faculty Admin Office, beside the library, at either break or lunchtime. The items are available individually or in a transparent, exam-friendly pencil case, which includes all but a calculator. The latter, however, can only be purchased separately. The equipment can also be bought from local stationers and supermarkets.
Maths Revision must involve the completion of questions, not just reading over previous work or notes.
This can involve:
- Completion of Past Exam Papers;
- Use of a Revision Workbook;
- Questions from a maths-specific website, such as:
All students are given access to the “Hegarty” website. In addition, all students studying maths in the Sixth Form have logins for the “Maths Net” A-Level website and the “Pearson” interactive digital A-Level resource.
If unsure, students should then use one of the following to check:
- Their class notes
- A Revision Guide
- The “hegartymaths.com” website
- Asking their/any maths teacher
Revision guides and workbooks at the appropriate tier for GCSE, can be purchased via ‘Parent Pay’ or from the maths shop. Those for A-Level are also available through the maths shop.
The key thing with revision is that it should be regular and sustainable. We would therefore advise students in Key Stage 4 to start their revision earlier, aiming to do 20–30 minutes a couple of times a week, in addition to the completion of assigned homework. This will also benefit students’ confidence.