Mathematics

“Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country.”

David Hilbert, mathematician (1862-1943)

 

Mathematics at Kings Langley School

Mathematics is the study of logic, pattern and number and is unique amongst the academic disciplines for its absolute rigour.  For some, the truth found in mathematics is the purest form of truth there is.  To study mathematics is to train oneself in the art of reason, assembling the facts before making logical deductions, a skill very much in demand in today’s world full of conflicting data. 

Mathematics knows no borders, knows no race, religion or gender and knows no social background. It has the power to transform a young person’s life and every child has the right to the opportunity to engage with a rigorous and aspirational mathematics curriculum. 

In Mathematics, our aim is to unlock the transformative power of the subject for our students and to give them high quality opportunities to engage.  We aim to develop our students understanding of mathematics and their fluency with processes so that they gain confidence and enjoyment.  We aim to develop the students’ ability to think logically, selecting relevant information or data to solve a given problem.  We want the students to build resilience for when they face an unfamiliar problem or for when the solution requires creative thinking.  We develop the students’ mathematical communication skills so that their thoughts and ideas can influence others, with the goal of them taking up valuable roles in the modern workplace.

Key stage 3

At Key Stage 3 we follow a mastery based approach, using the ‘discovering mathematics’ textbooks and White-Rose maths. 

Key Stage 4

At GCSE we follow the Pearson-Edexcel 1MA1 specification. 

There are three 90-minute exams at the end of Year 11.  One is non-calculator and the other two are calculator papers. 

There are two tiers of entry for these papers, higher and foundation.  Generally, students in sets one and two take the higher-tier.  The higher tier goes from grade 4 to grade 9.  Generally, students in sets three and four take the foundation-tier, which goes from grade 1 to 5. 

Grade 4 is considered a GCSE ‘pass’ equivalent to the old C-grade.  Grade 5 is seen as a ‘good pass’ equivalent to the old B/C grade. 

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 we follow the Pearson-Edexcel specification and we offer maths and further maths A level.

The specification for the regular A-Level is 9MA0

Students need a grade 7+ at GCSE to take this course.

This course is examined by three 2-hour papers at the end of Year 13.  Two papers are on the pure mathematics aspect of the course and the other paper is on the applied topics.  

The specification for further maths A-Level is 9FM0

Students need a grade 8+ at GCSE (or a recommendation from their GCSE teacher if they got a grade 7) to take this course.

This course is examined by four 90-minute papers at the end of Yr 13.  Two papers are on the pure mathematics aspect of the course and the other two are on the applied topics. 

 We have a history of our students achieving good outcomes at both GCSE and A level.  Students feel equipped to tackle mathematical problems in the classroom and, as a result, they are able to deal with problems involving data and rational thought in their chosen careers. 

We attract good numbers of students to further their study with A level maths and further maths in our Sixth Form.  Many students go on to study mathematics or related disciplines at top universities or are accepted onto prestigious apprenticeships such as the one offered by the Dyson Institute.

FAQs

Do we set our students for maths?

Yes, we find that placing students in classes with others attaining a similar level helps the lessons to proceed at a better pace and for the students to find the work more rewarding as well as building their confidence.  Students are placed in sets from Year 7 and we review the setting after each assessment point in the year and make changes as appropriate. 

How do you support students who are struggling?

We find that problems are reduced by teaching the students in sets but if problems remain then the students all have logins to our online maths resource called mathswatch.  On this website there are instructional videos for each topic we study and the chance to practise interactive questions which are marked instantly.  If your child still struggles with a topic we offer an open door policy on the maths corridor at lunchtimes and all students are able to come to ask for more help then.  Teaching assistants are present in some classes, where the need is greater, and 6th form maths students run a maths club to build maths confidence in the younger years.

My child excels in maths, what opportunities are there for higher attaining students?

Many students participate in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Maths Challenge from the UK Mathematics Trust and many achieve gold, silver or bronze certificates in these.  We have also nominated students from Year 9 to attend the Royal Institution masterclasses in mathematics.  These are ‘hands-on’ classes run by experts from industry and academia. 

How is homework set?

Homework is set weekly for maths.  We generally use the mathswatch website as this supports the students by offering video tutorials and instant feedback on how they have done and it supports our teachers by giving detailed feedback on the students’ performance on each skill.  This allows us to address any misconceptions at the point at which they form rather than leaving them to embed in the minds of the students.

What calculator will my child need for maths?

A scientific calculator is required to successfully access the curriculum at Key Stages 3,4 and 5.  

For Key Stage 3 and 4 we recommend the Casio FX-83GTX Scientific Calculator. 

For Key Stage 5 we ask that the students have at least the CASIO FX-991EX.  The CASIO FX-CG50 Graphic Calculator is very good but expensive and not strictly necessary (it can be bought through the school at a slighter cheaper price, ask your maths teacher) 

Staff:

Mr B Wilshaw Learning Area Leader wilshawb@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mrs L Bishop Lead Practitioner bishopl@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mr J Jakubowski  Teacher jakubowskij@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mrs R Jennings Teacher jenningsr@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mrs D Khatri Teacher khatrid@kls.herts.sch.uk
Miss Y Li Teacher liy@kls.herts.sch.uk 
Mrs N Ndlovu Teacher ndlovun@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mr V Ogunba Teacher ogunbav@kls.herts.sch.uk
Miss S Slade Teacher slades@kls.herts.sch.uk
Mr E Tembo Teacher temboe@kls.herts.sch.uk
     

 

Super Curriculum:

Top 5 books to read (The school library will have copies of these books)

  • Why Do Buses Come in Threes?: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life (Rob Eastaway).
  • Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension (Matt Parker).
  • Alex's Adventures in Numberland (Alex Bellos).
  • Fermat's Last Theorem: The Story Of A Riddle That Confounded The World's Greatest Minds For 358 Years (Simon Singh).
  • Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics (William Dunham).

Places to Visit 

Useful Websites:

Mathematics Extra-Curricular Programme:

Maths challenge - This is a national competition open to top set students in Year’s 7 to 13. There are age categories comprising of the junior, intermediate and senior challenges.

Royal Institution masterclasses - These ‘hands-on’ interactive sessions are led by experts from academia and industry. Each year a handful of students are invited from Year 9 to take part.

Further Studies and Careers:

If you’re a talented Mathematician, a maths degree can be a good option. The fact that there is a right answer to questions means that it’s possible to achieve high marks, most courses offer the chance as you progress to specialise in the areas that most interest you. Your skills will be useful in many careers.
More information about studying for a maths degree, types of A levels you need and the careers it leads to can be found here:

Maths Degrees and Careers

Options after a Maths Degree:

Studying Maths helps you develop skills in logical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, which are valued by employers across many job sectors.

Jobs directly related to higher maths qualifications, such as A-levels or a degree, include:

Acoustic consultant, actuarial analyst, actuary, astronomer, chartered accountant, chartered certified accountant, data analyst, data scientist, investment analyst, research scientist (maths), secondary school teacher, software engineer, sound engineer or statistician.

Jobs where higher maths qualifications would be useful include:

CAD technician, civil service fast streamer, financial manager, financial trader, game designer, insurance underwriter, machine learning engineer, meteorologist, operational researcher, private tutor, quantity surveyor, radiation protection practitioner or software tester.

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Top Mathematicians to research and learn about:

  • Leonhard Euler 1707-1783. A Swiss mathematician who produced more original mathematics than any other mathematician before or since. He is behind a lot of the symbols you use in your maths lessons, such as the symbol for pi, f(x) etc. He went blind in later life, but the loss of his sight actually increased the amount of work he produced. He discovered so much that often other mathematicians are credited as being “the second person after Euler to have discovered it”.  He is Mr Wilshaw’s favourite mathematician.
  • Ada Lovelace 1815-1852. A female mathematician in a world that didn’t easily accept that such a thing could exist. She worked on programmable machines and envisaged how a machine could be programmed. Some say that her work amounts to one of the first ‘computer’ programs ever written.
  • Henri Poincare 1854-1912. The last mathematician to have understood all the areas of maths that were around in his lifetime. These days the subject is too big for any one person to understand all parts of it.
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan 1887-1920. An Indian mathematician who had no formal training in mathematics, but his self-taught ideas were ahead of some of the most advanced western mathematicians of the time. He came to England to study and made many outstanding contributions until his unfortunate death at the age of 32.
  • Andrew Wiles 1953- . It’s easy to think that all of mathematics has been discovered but Andrew Wiles proof of Fermat’s last theorem (another thing to look up!) is a very modern discovery. Andrew Wiles found Fermat’s last theorem in a library book as a schoolboy and wondered why something that could be understood by a ten-year-old had not yet been proved. After studying at Oxford and then Cambridge he proved it but then found an error in his work. It took a year to fix this error and he finally achieved his life’s goal in 1995.

Revision documents: Topics covered each half term matched to the mathswatch website

Y7 Mathswatch (Autumn term)

Y7 Mathswatch (Spring term)

Y7 Mathswatch (Summer term)

Y8 Mathswatch (Autumn term)

Y8 Mathswatch (Spring term)

Y8 Mathswatch (Summer term)

Y9 Mathswatch (Autumn term)

Y9 Mathswatch (Spring term)

Y9 Mathswatch (Summer term)

Y10 and Y11 Mathswatch