The Mathematics Department at St Augustine’s Priory believes in the importance of Mathematics as a clear, unambiguous tool in the analysis and communication of ideas and information.

Our aim is to help our pupils develop knowledge, skills and understanding as well as an appreciation of the beauty of Mathematics.

At A Level all of our pupils achieved one grade above their minimum predicted grades. At A Level 50% of students achieved A*/A whilst 100% achieved A*-B. 100% of students achieved grade A, the top grade available in AS Level Further Maths. 61% of GCSE students achieved grades 9-7 compared with 16% nationally, whilst 14% achieved grade 9 compared to 3% nationally.

A variety of teaching and learning styles is used in Mathematics lessons. We recognise the fact that children differ in mathematical ability and we therefore employ a range of strategies to help each girl to attain her full potential.

Our pupils receive a mathematical education that is increasingly linked to their own needs and those of society.

We help them to: understand the capabilities and limitations of Mathematics and the implications and the consequences of its use; make effective use of Mathematics in a wide range of activities within school and as preparation for adult life as responsible citizens; develop an awareness of the fascination of Mathematics as a subject in its own right; work in a systematic manner, thereby developing the ability to reason logically, classify, generalise and prove; work in an independent manner; develop an imaginative and creative mind arising from mathematical ideas; derive pleasure and enjoyment from Mathematics.

Preps and Juniors
In the Prep and Junior Departments, the girls are taught Mathematics through the Abacus scheme. Abacus is a unique maths toolkit written for the new primary maths curriculum, and it has been carefully crafted on a robust approach to creating inspired and confident young mathematicians. The scheme develops the children’s mental mathematics, problem solving and investigative skills. A range of resources is used to support the teaching and learning of Mathematics, including interactive programs, practical activities, games and written work. Children also have access to a variety of digital content, which is highly motivating whilst developing their ICT skills.

Our aim is to encourage all our children to enjoy the many different aspects of Mathematics, to be prepared to take risks, not to be afraid of making mistakes and to achieve their potential in this exciting and multi-faceted subject. The children are encouraged to develop their mental arithmetic skills and to use the correct mathematical vocabulary, and we find that they quickly gain the confidence to talk about their work and methods at quite a sophisticated level. Programmes of work for each term are designed to cover different strands of Mathematics in line with the new Primary Curriculum.

A variety of teaching methods and activities is used to suit different learning styles, with children working as a whole class, individually and in pairs or groups as appropriate. The children have enjoyed participating in ‘No Pen Wednesday’, ‘Puzzle Challenge Day’, and we have a whole week dedicated to Mathematics which includes lots of activities to develop the girls’ problem-solving skills. We also offer a variety of clubs where children can develop their interest in Mathematics outside of the classroom.

Form III to Upper IV (Key Stage 3) and Lower V to Upper V (Key Stage 4)
In Forms III to Upper V of the Senior School the girls are taught in three (or occasionally four) sets, based on ability. The schemes of work are structured in such a way as to allow for movement between sets.

In Forms III to Lower IV, we follow the Mathematics Enhancement Programme devised by CIMT at the University of Plymouth. Broadly speaking, the material covered is a preparation for the GCSE syllabus.

In Upper IV there is a GCSE transition year, in which the girls study topics from the CIMT course but in the depth required for GCSE.  The GCSE syllabus is completed during Lower V and Upper V.

All our girls sit the Edexcel GCSE examination at the end of Upper V. We believe that the non-calculator element of this exam is important in encouraging the continued use of mental arithmetic.

Exam Board: Edexcel
Syllabus: 1MA1 (Linear)
All the Exam boards have a two-tier structure for the Mathematics GCSE: Foundation and Higher. The girls are taught in three sets, (or occasionally four, depending on the individual needs of each cohort). The decision about the tier of entry for each girl is generally made after the summer exams in Lower V, although there is further scope to drop down to the Foundation Tier after the mock exam in Upper V (January).  Most girls will take the Higher Tier, but in all cases the Tier is selected to maximise each girl’s opportunity for success. A pass is set at grade 4.

Scheme of Assessment

Written Exams Weighting Foundation Higher
Paper 1 (Non-calculator) 33⅓% 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 2 (Calculator) 33⅓% 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 3 (Calculator) 33⅓% 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

Grade Structure

Foundation Higher
Grades 5 – 1 9 – 4

Comparison (old grades and new grades):

New Grade (Higher) 9 8 7 6 5 4
New Grade (Foundation) 5 4 3 2 1
Old Grade A* A*/A A B C C D E/F F/G


OCR Additional Mathematics (Free Standing Maths Qualification ‘FSMQ’)

At the start of the Summer Term of Lower V girls who are considering taking A level  Mathematics in the future are given the opportunity to study for this extra qualification.  This requires attendance at after school  lessons until the syllabus is completed at the end of the Upper V year.

The examination reference is 6993 and assessment is in the form of one two hour paper.  The highest grade available is  A;  there is no A*. The specification is new for exams in 2019 onwards.

This qualification is a great opportunity to narrow the gap between the GCSE and A level courses.

Lower VI to Upper VI (Key Stage 5)

The specifications for A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics changed with effect for first teaching September 2017.  The two year A level Mathematics course followed is Edexcel 9MA0.  This consists of three compulsory papers each of two hours, examined at the end of the second year.

Paper 1:Pure Mathematics 1

Paper 2: Pure Mathematics 2

Paper 3: Statistics and Mechanics

All papers are equally weighted and there is no choice of questions or topics on any paper. A Casio fx-9750GII calculator is a requirement for this course.

Occasionally a two year AS only course may be offered. Further Mathematics is offered for exceptionally talented mathematicians. A level Further Mathematics can be studied at AS level (8FM0) over one year or at A level (9FM0) over two years.  It is studied alongside the A level Mathematics course (parallel delivery).

Each year several girls from Upper IV attend a series of Mathematics Masterclasses at the Royal Institution. The participants are introduced to topics which are beyond the scope of the normal school syllabus, thereby giving them an opportunity to broaden their mathematical experience.

UKMT Maths Challenges

Pupils in Set 1 of each year group are given the opportunity to take the UKMT Maths Challenge.  This is a national competition at three levels:  Junior (Form III and Lower IV), Intermediate (Upper IV to Upper V) and Senior (Lower VI and Upper VI).  Success in this competition can lead to qualification for further European rounds or the Maths Olympiad.