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.
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.
Key Stage 3
Mathematics is a compulsory subject at key stage 3. There are four lessons per week. The purpose of key stage 3 is to provide a transition from the number intense world of key stage 2 mathematics to the generalisation that lies at heart of key stage 4 and beyond.
The key stage 3 scheme of work has problem solving at its heart in order to prepare our students for embarking upon the new 1-9 grade GCSE. The objective is to become a mastery of mathematics; not just a rote learning of method and its pattern application but a rich and deep appreciation of the concepts: the nature of number; addition and subtraction; multiplication and division; maths as a language; maths in the real world; decision making.
Rich tasks, problem solving, and real world application follow on from skills in order to achieve our aim: the development of mathematical knowledge, understanding and application in each student.
Students are given formative assessments three times a year, supported by frequent but finely grained Personal Learning Checklists. The former provide us with a deeper measure of understand and application over longer time periods whilst the latter are used to inform immediate planning: intervention; consolidation; and extension.
Key Stage 4
Mathematics is a compulsory subject at key stage 4. There are five lessons per week. In years 9, 10 and 11 students work towards a linear GCSE Mathematics qualification. The final exam papers are split into Foundation (grades 1 to 5) and Higher (grades 5 to 9). The GCSE is assessed at the end of year 11 – students sitting 3 exam papers that could cover content on any aspect of the course.
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 to be set within the unit. The feedback from these allows students to see how they are progressing and inform whether they are in a position to move forward or requiring consolidation. 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.
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 for the A levels and three lessons a week for the Level 3 Certificate. Homework tasks are set per topic.
The qualifications we offer at post-16 are as follows:
- Level 3 Certificate Core Maths
- A Level Mathematics
- A Level Further Maths