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Maths

Overview

Mathematics is a key curriculum subject.  West Lakes Academy's Mathematics Department aims to develop students' knowledge, skills and understanding of Mathematics by allowing students to discuss mathematical methods with the class to increase their own and others understanding.  All students can benefit from the progress of other students as everyone approaches the learning of Mathematics in different ways.

Mathematical thinking is important for all members of a modern society as a habit of mind for its use in the workplace, Business and Finance and for personal decision making.  Mathematics is fundamental to national prosperity in providing tools for understanding Science, Engineering, Technology and Economics.  It is essential in public decision making and for participation in the knowledge economy.  Mathematics equips students with uniquely powerful ways to describe, analyse and change the world.

To achieve the best progress for all students, teaching at West Lakes Academy is designed to follow a cyclic linear pathway which starts in Year 7 progressing each year, revisiting topics over time, each time moving to a higher level than previously met.

Each unit of work has clear learning outcomes which are on student forecast sheets.  Students are expected to place these in their books at the start of the unit, where they assess their prior knowledge.  This sheet then provides their record of progress as well as enabling teachers to direct students to areas they need to work on to improve their progress further.  At the end of every unit students complete an assessment and feedback sheet, this allows them to understand how they have progressed through the unit and also what areas of the unit they must recap.

In Years 10 and 11 students work towards the Edexcel linear GCSE Mathematics qualification, with all students who are working at level 5 or above at the end of Year 9 studying the higher syllabus.  Students are entered for GCSE Mathematics in November of Year 11.  After this the curriculum divides to enable groups to either resit and improve their grade or to pursue a second mathematical qualification which best suits the needs and strengths of the student.

Teaching is conducted through a mix of rich activities, teacher led learning of new skills, rich group investigations, differentiated worksheets and use of Home Learning activities.

Homework

Students use www.mymaths.co.uk to complete learning activities outside the classroom.  This enables them to take ownership of their independent learning and to see their progress and achievement immediately.  There is a department timeline of what activities should be set which is linked to the topics being taught at the time.  Log in information is available from class teachers.

Teachers set homework activities that either review prior learning, enable students to improve their independent learning or research skills, practice the topic currently being taught or extend their learning.  Teachers keep a log of homework set and completed.  They set at least one task each week and review progress/completion by students a week later.

Success on mymaths.co.uk is identified as having green smiley faces adjacent to the activity.

Students can choose to do homework activities in one of 4 ways:

  • At home using their own computer access
  • In the LRC
  • In the Maths Department in Maths Clinic after school, Thursday evenings between 3.30 and 4.30 pm
  • During registration in agreement with their Head of Year in the Maths Department on Tuesday or Wednesday lunchtimes

At Key Stage 4 homework other than mymaths may also be set.

 

Key Stage 3

Mathematics is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 3.  There are four lessons per week.

The Scheme of Work for Maths has several strands: number and algebra; geometry; statistics; mathematical processes and applications.  The last strand is embedded in work throughout the other three as it deals with mathematical thinking and the ability to solve problems.  We focus on teaching for understanding which means that we develop the underlying concepts rather than promoting a style which relies on 'recipes' for completing each type of problem.  This leads to a more flexible approach which can better be applied to solving real life problems.

A variety of problems and other rich tasks are tackled in lessons during each topic.  They last between two and three weeks in general and all topics have an assessment activity towards the end.  This is marked and given a National Curriculum level together with some feedback which indicates how the student may progress.  Three times a year the students are given a more substantial assessment which covers the work done that term and, together with evidence from lessons, homework and other assessments, may trigger a change of set in order that the student may progress more appropriately.

Key Stage 4

Mathematics is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 4.  There are five lessons per week.

The Scheme of Work has several strands: number and algebra; geometry; statistics; mathematical processes and applications.  The last strand is embedded in work throughout the other three as it deals with mathematical thinking and the ability to solve problems.  We focus on teaching for understanding which means that we develop the underlying concepts rather than promoting a style which relies on 'recipes' for completing each type of problem.  This leads to a more flexible approach which can better be applied to solving real life problems. 

A variety of problems and other rich tasks are tackled in lessons during each topic.  They last between two and three weeks in general and all topics have an assessment activity towards the end.  This is marked and given a GCSE grade together with some feedback which indicates how the student may progress.  At Christmas each year the students are given a more substantial assessment which covers the work done that term.  Any of these assessments may trigger some intervention work, usually in the form of after school support, in order to support the students in achieving their full potential in Mathematics. 

There is no coursework for Maths.

Post 16

Mathematics is an optional subject at Key Stage 5.  There are five lessons per week in Year 12 and four lessons per week in Year 13.  Homework tasks are set per topic.

We offer A Level Mathematics which includes work on the core ideas of algebra, trigonometry and calculus as well as modules on Decision Maths.  All exams are taken in June.  The Exam Board is Edexcel.

We also offer A Level Further Maths which includes work on the core ideas of matrices and complex numbers as well as modules in Decision Maths and Mechanics.  All exams are taken in June.  The Exam Board is Edexcel.

Both A Levels can be pursued to AS Level only if appropriate.