Mathematics is a popular and successful department with a high profile in the school. The subject has increased further in popularity in recent years, with numbers studying Mathematics gradually increasing and a good number of students choosing Further Mathematics in the Sixth Form. Our primary aim is to stimulate, develop and maintain students’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment in mathematics in an environment that encourages creative, independent thinking and enquiry.
In Blocks 3, 4 and 5 students are taught in 5-6 sets according to ability. Progress is monitored carefully by regular testing as well as weekly preps and classwork.
- Block 3 (Year 9)
- Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
- Sixth Form
The Block 3 Mathematics course reinforces basic skills in number, algebra, mensuration and data handling and marks the beginning of a three-year programme. All students are entered for the International GCSE (Edexcel). Prep is set and collected weekly and there is an end-of-year school examination in June.
In most sets, Block 4 marks the beginning of students’ exposure to more advanced Higher Tier topics (for example, advanced trigonometry and quadratic equations). Prep is set and collected weekly and there is an end-of-year school examination in June of Block 4. Mock IGCSE examinations occur in January of Block 5.
Generally, one set in each year group is smaller in size and focussed on entry for the Foundation Tier IGCSE (grades 5-1). The middle sets are often rather close in pace and ability and all students in these sets are entered for the higher tier examinations (grades 9-4). The top sets will follow an accelerated course and cover topics from the IGCSE Mathematics as well as from the level 2 qualification in Further Mathematics. Students in the top sets have the possibility of taking the AQA Further Mathematics qualification at the end of Block 5.
The most able students will take part in the UKMT Mathematical challenges, with many of them qualifying for the next rounds (the Intermediate Kangaroo and the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad). They will be exposed to extension material on a regular basis.
Mathematics is a requirement for several university courses and students are encouraged to consider this when choosing their A Levels. The step up in difficulty from Block 5 can be significant: a grade 7 (equivalent to an A grade) in GCSE or IGCSE Mathematics is an expected minimum for access to the course; aptitude for algebraic topics is an important prerequisite for success.
This A Level course is a linear qualification, meaning that students will sit all of their exams (three two-hour papers) at the end of the two year course. It is no longer possible to retake individual modules. The A Level course comprises of two-thirds pure mathematics (including algebra, trigonometry and calculus) and one-third applied mathematics split equally between statistics and mechanics.
Suitably qualified students may choose Further Mathematics as an additional A Level. Students have 16 periods of mathematics, twice that of single mathematicians, and so complete A level mathematics in 6.1 before progressing on to Further Mathematics in 6.2. Further Mathematics involves the studying of additional topics (e.g. complex numbers, matrix algebra, second order differential equations) and students who are aiming to study Mathematics at top universities will need to choose this A Level. However, it is also relevant for courses in Engineering, Physics, Economics or Statistics. Further Mathematics is a fast, challenging course and students are expected to have a grade 9 (equivalent to an A*) at GCSE or IGCSE. Students sit three two-hour exams for A level Mathematics and four 90-minute exams for A level Further Mathematics.
Students applying to Russel Group universities may have to take additional exams (such as the Maths Admissions Test, the Advanced Extension Award or the Sixth Term Entrance Paper). Guidance and support will be provided throughout 6.1 and 6.2 to help them prepare for these.
Students in all years are encouraged to actively engage with mathematics enrichment. The UKMT competitions are an opportunity for students to compete nationally and preparation for these offers opportunities to broaden a student’s understanding. The UKMOG, BMO1, SMC and IMC are all regularly sat by Bedales students.
There is weekly Messy Maths activity where students from all years can work on puzzles and problems and a sixth form enrichment course of the History of Mathematics is offered to 6.1 students.
The department has a strong record of enabling students to proceed with Mathematics as a degree choice at top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. Sixth Formers who are aiming to apply for a Mathematics or related course at university can attend regular Top University Preparation (TopUP) lessons in the Spring Term of 6.1 and Autumn Term of 6.2.