Maths

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 75% of students achieved A*/A whilst 100% achieved A*-B in 2019

95% of students passed GCSE Maths in 2019

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 Department, the girls are taught Mathematics through the Abacus scheme. Abacus is a unique maths toolkit written for the 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.

In the Junior Department, the girls are taught Mathematics through Power Maths; a whole class mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and increase confidence in Mathematics for all. Written by leading mastery experts from the UK and China, and aligned with the new National Curriculum, its exciting growth mindset and problem solving approach combines interactive teaching tools, rich and quality textbooks, to equip children with a deep and long-lasting understanding of Mathematics. Power Maths empowers every child to understand and succeed, encouraging hard work, practice and a willingness to see mistakes as learning tools.

To develop mastery in Mathematics, children need to be enabled to acquire a deep understanding of maths concepts, structures and procedures, step by step. Complex mathematical concepts are built on simpler conceptual components and when children understand every step in the learning sequence, Mathematics becomes transparent and makes logical sense. Interactive lessons establish deep understanding in small steps, as well as effortless fluency in key facts such as tables and number bonds. The whole class works on the same content and no child is left behind. Children master concepts one step at a time in lessons that embrace a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (C-P-A) approach, avoid overload, build on prior learning and help them see patterns and connections.

We have a whole week dedicated to Mathematics which includes lots of activities to develop the girls’ problem-solving skills, including a dedicated ‘Puzzle Challenge Day’. 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 four sets, based on ability. The schemes of work are structured in such a way as to allow for movement between sets.

In addition to internal assessments, an electronic Progress Test in Mathematics (PTM) is taken at the end of Form III, Lower IV and Upper IV to monitor the progress of each year group against national standards.

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. At various points in the year we have problem-solving weeks to encourage mathematical thinking, resilience and analytical thinking.

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 or four sets, 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. There are equally weighted papers, each of 90 minutes.

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*.

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 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.

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).

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 (Kangaroo) or the Maths Olympiad.

Each year several girls from Upper IV, Lower V and Lower VI 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.  These sessions are by invitation from UKMT and are based on performance in the Maths Challenges.