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Overview

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, 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. The department consists of 6 specialist teachers who employ a wide range of teaching styles. We regularly share resources and ideas in our aim to make Mathematics interesting and accessible for all students. The department has the use of 6 rooms in the main building, all of which are well resourced with a wide range of equipment, textbooks and interactive technology. Of course our teaching goes beyond just using textbooks, with mini-whiteboards, mathematical games, mathematical puzzles and team challenges all being used where appropriate to enhance learning.

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 online resources, 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.

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 in preparation for their Maths exam. 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."

Curriculum

Key Stage 3
Students are set across the whole year group shortly after arrival in year 7, based upon key stage 2 data and initial teacher assessments. Student's progress is continually monitored and setting is reviewed regularly throughout years 7 and 8. 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. They study a very broad curriculum, sometimes working individually and sometimes in pairs or small groups. Study is split into five main topics: Number, Algebra, Ratio and Proportion, Geometry and Measures, Statistics & Probability.  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. Pupils will complete the Key stage 3 course at the end of year 8 and be assessed in full exam conditions to prepare them for the start of the GCSE course.

Key Stage 4
The current Year 11 cohort will be the first year group to be assessed on a new GCSE in Mathematics.  One key feature of this new GCSE is the new grading system of 9-1 to indicate students' performance.  The top grade will be a 9, with a grade 5 being the new benchmark.  The style of questioning in the new GCSEs will adopt a more open-ended approach with an increased emphasis on problem solving.  Students will also be required to memorise a greater number of formulae for their exams.   Students will have access to either a higher or foundation paper. This will be determined based on their attainment in Year 11.