Mathematics at Key Stage 5
In KS5 we build still further on the excellent achievements at KS4. Our intention is to create the very best Mathematicians, by challenging our students to have an excellent work ethic. Our superb KS5 team does this not only through first rate subject knowledge and excellent teaching, but by providing a safe and supportive environment where our Sixth Formers know that help is always on hand.
In this way, we produce students of the highest calibre who can work with fluency and who have excellent problem solving skills. We demonstrate how different areas of Mathematics interact and how their skills are transferable to other areas of study.
We are very student-centred and make ourselves available to students outside of lessons, at lunchtimes, after school and via email. It is true to say we really care about what happens to our students after Sixth Form. Hence, an important part of the team’s role is to explore how their academic achievements will support them in their future career aspirations.
In terms of curricula, our A level Mathematicians follow the Edexcel specification. We find that this offers clear, familiar and accessible resources and exams and hence gives our students the best chance to succeed in this most difficult of subjects.
We also offer Level 3 Core Maths through AQA. Our Core Maths students report that they find this specification engaging and very relevant to other studies and to how Maths can be used in real life. We also a GCSE resit programme to support our students who need to complete their GCSE Maths qualifications.
Each topic will be continuously formatively assessed using questioning and marking exercises from our chosen textbook which covers all the content in the Edexcel Specification. Our specialist team will use certain questions from the extensive exercises which will most effectively move the learning forwards in each lesson. As well as this, we are fortunate that we can provide intervention lessons with specialist teachers, who can help students out of their usual lesson time to practice further any skills that they feel is necessary. Each chapter of the textbook than has a mixed exercise which provides excellent, challenging miscellaneous questions on each topic area. Students are encourage to work on these independently but can of course still access support if they need it.
We follow the school’s Assessment Calendar and all our courses are formally assessed at every opportunity. These scores are then entered in to the School’s data management system Go 4 Schools. These scores then dovetail with the Sixth Form Team’s analysis and we are able to prioritise students and topic areas that need extra guidance. We aim to finish teaching our curricula by Easter each year, and from then on in we enter in to a continuous cycle of exam style practice and improvement right up to and through the summer exam session. At this time, Y13 sit their terminal Summer papers and, unlike many other subjects, our Y12 all take an AS exam. This provides a highly informative stepping stone into Y13.
GCSE resit students will have the opportunity to sit formal GCSE papers in November with the aim of passing as soon as possible. We will get the results in January and if a further resit is necessary the students will sit the GCSE exams in the summer alongside Year 11.
From the very beginning of the course, Y12 can expect a minimum of one formal written homework per week – this will assess the Pure content which makes up by far the largest proportion of the course’s subject matter. Slightly less frequently, the students will also be assessed via homework on their applied work – Statistics and Mechanics. Every chapter of our chosen textbook is assessed this way. Each homework is expected to take around an hour. Support is available during intervention, at lunchtimes and via email. All homework scores are entered into our school’s data management system ‘Go 4 Schools’. These scores are analysed on a regular basis to see what support students need in any topic areas.
At the beginning of Y13 this familiar and frequent homework policy continues unchanged until after the January exams. After this time, individual colleagues will start tempering their homework to provide even more Exam Style practice. This is more likely to be honed to the needs of the class when compared to the more generic homework earlier on in the course. Naturally, these scores are once again recorded and used formatively to support students in topic areas and exam technique that they need support in.
Closer to the exam period, students will then focus almost entirely on exam practice.