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Mathematics is a very important component of the education of each student throughout their time at EGA. We are passionate about the power of mathematics to operate in an increasingly technological world. Mathematics covers a wide range of skills which are interesting in their own right and represent an important strand of our cultural heritage.
Mathematics has helped create the modern world - imagine a world without computer chips. Mathematics can be a source of joy - imagine the number of Sudoku puzzles solved every day. Mathematics makes the world tick - every purchase on Amazon is encrypted with prime numbers. Mathematics is an essential component of the literacy required to operate in the world - from understanding your tax bill or mortgage to reading charts in the press.
Mathematics encompasses tools and skills to help students solve problems and communicate across all school subjects, in future study and in life. Progress and success in maths will open doors for students and help them gain confidence. With this in mind we aim to work towards continual improvements in exam performance but not at the expense of enjoyment of an empowering, fascinating and far-reaching subject.
Mathematics at Key Stage 3
At EGA we build on the experiences of students in primary school mathematics. The topics covered in mathematics are broadly the same each year with each student following their own journey of improvement. The main topic areas are: Number, Algebra, Shape and Space and Data Handling and Probability. As well as the content of mathematics we support students with mathematical processes: working investigatively, using maths in real life contexts, problem solving, using ICT effectively, being creative, and working effectively individually and in teams.
We offer support to those who may have struggled or lack confidence. We believe that all students can make significant progress through supported challenge, quality feedback and their own hard work. Assessments are used to inform improvements in understanding and data is used to monitor progress. Our assessment policy encourages each student to take responsibility for her own learning and improve areas of weakness. After an induction module we regroup students to better support those that struggled with maths at primary school and to provide more challenge for those that did well. Throughout, work is differentiated to provide accessible challenges for students.
WE provide extra support for those students who need to catch up with their numeracy.
We provide enrichment opportunities, for example the Maths Challenge team and individual competitions. We have organised trips which support and celebrate mathematics. We have broaden our enrichment and will run “Art and Maths”, “Art and Origami” and “Art and Personal Finance” clubs through the year.
Study at Home for KS3
Homework is set regularly and this is designed to help understanding and the recollection of skills and facts learnt in class. Parents are asked to take an interest in their daughter’s maths work either by working with them or by asking their daughter to explain the tasks she is doing. Parents can also help by working with their daughter at improving basic numeracy such as table and addition facts. Sets of cards with questions on one side and the answer on the back are a good way to learn. Using maths in the home or the supermarket with active discussion will also help with functional maths.
There are some good revision books on the market such as CGP and Letts guides. We also subscribe to www.mymaths.co.uk and www.mangahigh.com, both of which are excellent resources. There are many other web-based resources such as BBC Bitesize.
Mathematics at Key Stage 4
At the end of year 8 we start to study for the Maths GCSE as the school moves from Key stage 3 to key stage 4.We follow the EdExcel Maths syllabus which is examined at the end of the course. The new GCSE is assessed using 3 exams: the first without a calculator and the second and third with a calculator. There is a foundation tier covering grades the new grades 1-5 and a higher tier covering grades 5-9. All exams include functional maths and thinking skills which we believe will support the quality of mathematical thinking of our students.
Mathematics is also tested for the accuracy and rigour of mathematical communication.
Throughout the course we provide clubs, extra revision sessions near exams, revision packs, practice and mock exams. We are working with local schools to provide extra extension opportunities linked to the local sixth form.
Study at Home for KS4
Advice for the upper school is similar to that for KS3: homework is set, the internet provides a different way to practise (see above). We provide revision booklets and there are many on the market (the best ones provide practice rather than just provide notes.) We also supply past papers. Students can use the above websites but many get the most from https://vle.mathswatch.co.uk/vle/ and we often use this for homework. Other websites offer free support and worked examples such as http://mrbartonmaths.com/ , http://justmaths.co.uk/ and https://corbettmaths.com/ .
Recent government developments support the kind of maths we want to teach. The framework has encouraged a greater emphasis on the processes involved. The new GCSE has a strong functional component and we are excited about preparing students for this better in the lower school.
We have organised trips this year, provided enrichment sessions, organised Maths Challenge in school, joined with other schools and the sixth form to support students into A level maths, worked with researchers to develop exciting new software, provided a ‘Mathemagical!’ assembly for local primary schools and offered support for parents to encourage greater involvement in their daughter’s learning. Assemblies in school celebrate events such as Pi-Day.
We will continue to be open to new initiatives, improvements in our intervention packages, improvements in the learning and teaching of maths. Watch this space!
We are proud of the fact that for the last few years we have had our best ever GCSE results in maths and our aim is to continue to improve.
School maths is very important but we are always looking for ways to show that maths is also important to solve problems in real life, to understand the world, to plan for the future and to have fun. In the past we organised trips to Islington sixth form, STEM conferences and participated in the maths challenge competition at City of London School. We also took part in a Rubik cube record breaking charity event. We have visited Bletchley Park and worked with researchers and visitors from BP. We are looking for new ways to use the resources of London to stimulate maths learning.
Helping Maths at Home
It is good to talk about maths at home. You can discuss the news, plan shopping, organise holiday spending or decorating or any other aspect of life where number skills, geometry or statistics can help. There are many games and puzzles like Sudoku you can find to support mathematical thinking and games such as cribbage or dominoes.
Support a quiet space to do homework at home and online where appropriate. Talk to your daughters about their homework. You can help them if you can but even getting them to explain their work will help them and be a positive conversation for you.
Mental Maths and Equipment
Students need the tools of the trade. The mental tools include knowing her tables so work on this at home … it will make a big difference. Flash cards with tables on one side (eg “7x8”) and answers on the other side are a good way of practicing. We sell good quality maths sets at school and we also sell calculators which are easy to use at a discounted price. Students must have these to do their best. At GCSE 2 out of 3 exams use a calculator so they must constantly practice so that they know all the clever things their calculator can do. We expect equipment at every lesson.