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Mathematics

Mathematics

Many people view Mathematics as mere arithmetic; at Francis Holland we seek to show our girls the beauty, creativity, rigour and real world application of this rich and vital subject.

We understand Mathematics not only as a fundamental science, but also an essential tool that is necessary for adults worldwide. We appreciate that many students experience anxiety about Mathematics at some point in their lives, and our approach aims to develop confidence while encouraging students to achieve their academic potential. A wide range of extra-curricular opportunities across all years teach students that Mathematics is about so much more than numbers.

The department is led by Mr Saul Taylor. All members of the department are highly qualified and experienced teachers. Their degrees and wider interests include Mathematics, Statistics, Educational Psychology, and more.

Curriculum

Key Stage 3 – Years 7, 8, 9 
In line with the requirements of the National Curriculum, the students are working in all four main mathematical areas – Number, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Handling. The curriculum of the first year aims to consolidate and extend your daughter’s knowledge from Year 6, as well as introducing several new topics. In Year 8 these topics are developed further and students are also introduced to topics such as Pythagoras’ Theorem. Open ended problems and investigations are interwoven into lessons to develop problem solving skills throughout Key Stage 3.
The girls are taught in mixed ability sets in Year 7 and are then set by ability in Years 8 and 9.

Key Stage 4: GCSE
The girls start studying for their Mathematics GCSE qualification in Year 10. Mathematics is compulsory, and all the girls are entered for the higher tier. All students are expected to achieve grades 5 – 9 with 100% of students doing so for the last five years. There is no coursework requirement for Mathematics and final assessment is by three 90 minutes papers at the end of Year 11. The GCSE course is now a rigorous and highly valued qualification which develops the girls’ mathematical and problems-solving skills, as well as being the best preparation for further study of Mathematics in Sixth Form.

Key Stage 4: Additional Mathematics
Francis Holland is an academic school, and to stretch and challenge our most able girls we offer a select group the opportunity to study Mathematics more deeply by doing a Free Standing Maths Qualification (FMSQ). This is an excellent chance for our girls to delve further into the more rigorous side of Mathematics.

Key Stage 5 – LVI and UVI: AS and A Level
Mathematics is not compulsory at Key Stage 5, but remains the most popular subject at FHS with around 50% of the year group continuing with their studies by studying A level Mathematics, and Further Mathematics is also a popular choice for our most able girls. Each year a number of students apply for Mathematics or related subjects at university.  

We study the Edexcel syllabus for A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics; the department are experienced A level teachers including members who have experience marking public examinations at a high level.

We offer AS Mathematics and AS Further Mathematics in Lower Sixth, with students being able to either take the examinations in Lower Sixth or continue to study the full A levels in Upper Sixth.

 

Accomodation and Resources

Maths is taught in several state-of-the-art classrooms, all of which are equipped with interactive whiteboards. There are several computer labs on site and the department also has a set of tablet computers for class use. All students from Year 8 are issued with a scientific calculator, and A-level students use graphic display calculators in lessons and at home. All teachers are confident in the use of technology, and support is available for students to encourage efficient and accurate use of these devices. We have a subscription to MyMaths, accessible to all students, where they can revise, catch up on absence, or complete homework the teacher has set. Khan Academy and Integral Maths are also used where appropriate.

Support is always available to those that need it, and the department runs three Maths Clinic sessions a week where students can ask for further help with any topic. 

 

Beyond the Classroom

The school has become increasingly involved with Maths as an extra-curricular subject, with students from all years taking part in the annual UKMT Maths Challenges. Students in years 8-13 are invited to represent the school in Team Challenges, and several girls from Years 7, 9 and 12 take part in the Royal Institution Maths Masterclasses each year. We also enter the Team Mathematics Challenge, Senior Team Mathematics Challenge and also hosted the Maths Feast team competition this year.

Sloane Sequence One is our weekly Maths Club, where all students are invited to enjoy Mathematics outside the standard curriculum. In the Spring term students have the opportunity to enter the Alan Turning Cryptography Competition, with the highest scoring team attending the live final at Manchester University. 

Previous trips by the department have included The London Eye, St Pauls Cathedral and Legoland, while Year 10 students have the opportunity to ‘Escape the Room’ with Clue Quest as part of a day long cryptography challenge. 

Girls are also encouraged to attend lectures by prominent mathematicians; last year these included a lecture by Simon Singh on Mathematics in The Simpsons, and one by Alex Bellos on Number Theory (including why odd numbers really are odd).

This is not only a skill for life but a vital part of every student's intellectual development. We use ICT as an integral part of our mathematics teaching. Computers can do many mathematical tasks for us; however, technology does not help us if we do not have a plan. Mathematics is all about thinking clearly and applying the correct mathematical tools to solve a problem. Some of these tools are thousands of years old, yet still relevant today.

 

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