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Mathematics

Overview

At Watford Grammar School for Girls, we aim to develop and sustain confidence, enthusiasm and interest in Mathematics; we consolidate and increase our pupils’ mathematical skills. As Mathematics teachers, we recognise the importance of spending time on different mathematical ideas so that pupils acquire a deeper understanding of the subject. Then, having acquired knowledge, skills and understanding, pupils are able to become creative, independent learners.

When girls arrive in Year 7, they are taught for the first six weeks in their mixed ability form groups. Just before the October half-term break, they are given a comprehensive test based only on the material that they have covered since September. As a result of this, we identify those pupils who will benefit from extra assistance and they are placed into smaller groups for the remainder of the year. Pupils are placed in ability sets from Year 8 to Year 11, with the aim of maximising the efficiency of delivery of the mathematics curriculum. Through this, individual needs are better met, as the more able pupils can be stretched and challenged, whilst those who find the subject harder are taught in smaller classes and are offered more support.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

We follow the National Curriculum, covering the areas of Number, Algebra, Shape and Space, Statistics and Probability. In Years 7-9, pupils currently have approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes of teaching time per week. Pupils are expected to consolidate their work in class by completing regular homework. All pupils are issued with a text book and exercise books. Teaching is also supplemented with worksheets, computer work, group work and investigative tasks.

During KS3, pupils are formally tested three times during the year (once per term) and results are closely monitored. Performance in these tests helps to determine placement of pupils into appropriate teaching groups and to identify students who need additional support.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

We follow the Edexcel syllabus at GCSE which is examined by one non-calculator and two calculator papers at the end of the course.  The amount of teaching time is increased to approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes per week.

During Years 10 and 11, there are a number of progress tests, as well as the end of year examinations. The performance of pupils in these examinations, as well as in class and homework tasks, is carefully monitored so that extra support can be provided if required.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13)

We have large cohort of pupils, currently over 200, opting to study either Mathematics or Further Mathematics in the Sixth Form. We follow the Edexcel syllabus and offer the opportunity to study Mathematics to A level and Further Mathematics to AS or A level.  Pupils studying A level Mathematics have approximately 4 hours 15 minutes teaching time, whilst pupils studying A level Further Mathematics have approximately 7 hours of teaching time.  There is also time allocated to independent study for Mathematics within the timetable.

In A level Mathematics all pupils study Pure Mathematics as well as some Statistics and Mechanics. The pupils are tested regularly throughout the course to monitor progress. At the end of the two years there are three examination papers, two Pure Mathematics papers and one Statistics and Mechanics paper.  

Further Mathematics pupils are taught separately and have more lessons than those students studying Mathematics only. The pupils will study a mix of Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Mechanics.  In the first year of the course the pupils study sufficient material to obtain a qualification in AS Further Mathematics. At the end of the two years there are six examination papers which will provide the pupils with qualifications in A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics.

Extra-curricular opportunities

We aim to enrich the learning of all students by offering a variety of trips, competitions and visiting speakers, including Matt Parker, Rob Eastaway, Simon Singh and James Grime.  Opportunities that we have offered in recent years:

Competitions

  • Hertfordshire team challenges (Years 7, 8)
  • Edge Hill Maths Challenge (Year 9)
  • UKMT team challenges (Years 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  • UKMT Junior Maths Challenge (Years 7, 8)
  • UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge (Years 9, 10, 11)
  • UKMT Senior Maths Challenge (Years 12, 13)
  • Hans Woyda Mathematics Quiz (Years 9, 11, 12, 13)

Trips

  • London: The Mathematics of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern
  • Cambridge University: College Visits, University Maths Trail and a talk on code breaking at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences
  • “Spymissions” Mathematical Adventures
  • Theatre Trip to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
  • Thorpe Park: The Mechanics of Rollercoasters and Rollbacks.