|The Mathematics Department at Castle High School takes pride in its subject and its achievements. Mathematics is a subject that deals with logic, decision-making, deductions, assumptions, precision, clarity of thought and the ability to solve problems in a calculative manner by following a series of steps. This is an important subject not only from the point of view of getting an academic qualification, but is also a subject that prepares students for the future as well, irrespective of which walk of life they choose.
Mathematics is a great subject which is vital to many other disciplines, and we aim to give the strongest mathematical grounding possible to all our students, whilst showing them just how fascinating and interesting Mathematics can be. As a department, we do our utmost to ensure every student reaches their potential and pride ourselves that all students leave Castle High school with a qualification in Mathematics.
Mathematics is compulsory in Key Stages 3 and 4 where classes are set according to ability, with regular opportunities for students to move from one set to another as appropriate. There is a strong emphasis on problem solving and investigations, and pupils are encouraged to reach their full potential, think for themselves and develop the skills required for life outside of school.
We understand the importance of homework for consolidating knowledge and deepening understanding and use a variety of means for setting homework. Students complete exercises, revise topics, research future topics and make use of Mymaths online, which provides instant feedback and opportunities to improve. They also have access to a range of revision materials on the school portal, including the Maths Watch Revision programme.
In 2011, the department secured its best GCSE results with 52% of pupils gaining a grade A* to C, and a high number of students securing A* grades. We are extremely proud of the students in this year group, who demonstrated a real determination to succeed; a large number of students attended revision sessions in the school holidays, at weekends as well as after school.
Mathematics Gold Standard Days at the Black Country Museum offer great revision opportunities and this year enabled approximately 40 targeted students to spend full days studying key concepts in a fun, focused and competitive environment. Student feedback is always very positive; these are some of the comments from students who attended this year:
"I feel much more confident about the exam after today, and I know what i need to revise most. "
"It was good fun but we also learnt a lot."
"I think I'm going to get the C I need now, thanks."
Key Stage 3
Students are set across the whole year group shortly after arrival in year 7, based upon an internal assessment. Student's progress is continually monitored and setting is reviewed regularly throughout years 7, 8 and 9. The main textbooks used in key stage 3 are the SMP Interact books, which encourage pupils to communicate their thinking both orally and in the written form. A variety of other texts and activities are also used to provide a wide and varied curriculum
Year 7: Students explore a wide variety of mathematical topics in the first year of their Key Stage 3 course. The actual topics taught depend upon the set in which the student is placed. higher sets study work at levels 5, 6 and 7. They study a very broad curriculum, sometimes working individually and sometimes in pairs or small groups. Study is split into four main topics: Number, Algebra, Data Handling and Shape, Space and Measure. Students are given the opportunity to study many new mathematical concepts and also to reinforce and extend their understanding of concepts that they were first introduced to at primary school.
Year 8: The main difference between the mathematics taught in Year 8 to that in Year 7 is in the depth of understanding expected by students. They build upon foundations laid in year 7 by studying new topics in all areas of mathematics.
Year 9: In year 9 pupils extend their learning still further, and are encouraged to explain their thinking more clearly, and confidently apply numerical and algebraic methods to unfamiliar situations. Pupils in the higher sets begin to study for the first unit of their GCSE from the January of year 9, and sit their first GCSE unit exam at the end of year 9.
Key Stage 4
Students in the current years 10 and 11 are studying for AQA modular GCSE.
In future students in years 10 and 11 will study a linear GCSE course, in line with the new Government requirements.
With the Keystage 3 curriculum providing lots of opportunities to share ideas and problem solve, students will be well equiped to cope with the new style GCSE questions which require the ability to apply mathematical skills to unfamiliar situations.
For students who find Mathematics particularly difficult, an Entry level qualification is studied alongside the GCSE to ensure that all students achieve a Mathematics qualification upon leaving the school.