Maths at Sir Thomas Rich's School

We strongly believe here at Sir Thomas Rich’s that mathematics is hugely important; mathematical thinking is vital for all members of society for use in the workplace, business, finance and for personal decision making. Mathematics is the fundamental tool for understanding science, engineering, technology and economics.

Mathematics equips pupils with powerful ways to describe, analyse and problem solve; pupils who are functional in mathematics are able to think independently in applied and abstract ways, applying reason and assessing risk. Mathematics is a creative discipline and its language is international. A huge array of career pathways can be opened up to students who are skilled in mathematics and we provide a superb starting point for our learners.

We have a dedicated and extremely experienced staff that is passionate about mathematics, embracing challenges and changes to the curriculum. Staff always look to incorporate challenging and exciting activities to reinforce the learning that takes place.

The department is housed in a suite of classrooms that all have an interactive whiteboard; we see the use of technology as important and embrace ICT wherever it is appropriate to do so. We subscribe to MyMaths which provides a fantastic virtual learning environment for use in and out of the classroom, thus encouraging independent learning (this can be found at www.mymaths.co.uk and each pupils will have their own individual login to track their progress). We also provide a virtual copy of the textbook we use at GCSE so that our students can have home access to not only the textbook but also all of the interactive activities and video clips that are embedded.

Pupils are taught in form groups in year 7 and year 8 then placed into sets according to ability from year 9 onwards. Accurate setting helps our students learn at a pace best suited to them, improving confidence levels and progression. Regardless of set, our boys all aim for top grades at GCSE as can be seen from our excellent results. The department offers plenty of support in and out of class with numerous revision programmes and lunch time drop in sessions available to ensure pupils reach their potential.

At Key Stage 3 we follow a scheme that provides excellent transition into GCSE, using the New Maths Frameworking published by Collins. Lessons incorporate problem solving tasks and activities to develop well rounded learners capable of applying reason and logic.

The course followed by the current Year 11 at GCSE is Edexcel Linear Specification (http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse10/maths/maths-a/Pages/default.aspx

A final decision has not yet been made about which examination board we will use for the summer 2017 GCSE examinations (current Year 10) but we are currently following the AQA course: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/mathematics/gcse/mathematics-8300

Our top achieving pupils follow the OCR Additional Mathematics course alongside their GCSE, providing breadth of study and enrichment opportunities (http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/fsmq/maths/add_maths/index.html) The examination is at the end of Year 11. This provides a fantastic opportunity for pupils to gain a more thorough and rigorous understanding of the higher tier GCSE content alongside some material from the A Level course. We are currently providing more challenging material for our set 2 classes by way of the AQA Certificate in Further Mathematics (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/mathematics/aqa-certificate/further-mathematics-8360)

Our Key Stage 5 students follow the OCR course for AS and A Level qualifications in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (a course for the highest achieving students). Numbers taking mathematics in year 12 and 13 are very healthy – mathematics is an extremely popular and successful subject for post 16 study at Sir Thomas Rich’s. The courses provide a good mix of modules including Pure Mathematics (and Further Pure), Statistics, Mechanics and Decision modules. For more information visit the OCR website: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/gce/maths/maths/index.html

Pupils at Sir Thomas Rich’s have the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities such as the UKMT Junior Team Mathematics Challenges, master classes held in Cheltenham (or those offered by local universities), taster days at universities and residential university taster courses. Our boys also take part in the UKMT individual challenge with much success (we have qualifiers for the Junior Mathematics Olympiad). Recent additions to our extra-curricular activities include the exciting Jaguar Challenge (www.mathschallenge.co.uk), for which one of our teams reached last year’s national final, and the code-breaking Cipher Challenge (www.cipher.maths.soton.ac.uk). Many exciting new opportunities arise for extra-curricular involvement so watch this space!

Students at Sir Thomas Rich’s enjoy mathematics and are encouraged to set high expectations to match those of this outstanding department.