A Level Mathematics is a useful, interesting and popular course – in fact the most popular in the Sixth Form.
Mathematics and Further Mathematics are versatile qualifications, well-respected by employers; they are both “facilitating” subjects for entry to higher education. Careers for men and women with good mathematics skills and qualifications are not only well paid, but they are also often interesting and rewarding. People who have studied Mathematics are in the fortunate position of having an excellent choice of career. Whilst the number of young people studying A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics is increasing, there is still a huge demand from science, engineering and manufacturing employers.
The College’s success in Mathematics comes as a result of a team of committed teachers who support pupils through inspirational lessons and additional clinics, as well as the provision of a wide range of opportunities for enrichment led by the College and also by the pupils themselves.
Mr John Bullen
Head of Mathematics
About the Curriculum
A Level Mathematics is an interesting and challenging course which extends the methods learned at GCSE and includes optional applications of mathematics such as Statistics, Mechanics and Decision Mathematics:
- Statistics: collecting and analysing data and using this to make predictions about future events. Many subjects make use of statistical information and techniques. An understanding of probability and risk is important in careers like insurance, medicine, engineering and the sciences.
- Mechanics: modelling and analysing the physical world around us, including the study of forces and motion. Mechanics is particular useful for students of physics and engineering.
- Decision: using algorithms and other methods to find efficient solutions to real life problems, such as finding the shortest route around a network. These techniques are important in business, logistics and computer science.
A Level Further Mathematics is fun and rewarding. It broadens the pupils’ mathematical skills and promotes deeper mathematical thinking. The students will be introduced to interesting new areas of pure mathematics such as complex numbers, and will be encouraged to apply mathematics in a wider range of contexts.
In the Lower Sixth there are at least four sets: the setting is adjusted throughout the year but initially is based on GCSE and Additional Mathematics results, with set 1 consisting exclusively of students with good Additional Mathematics passes and/or with an A* in GCSE. In class a variety of learning activities are employed to ensure students develop a wide range of skills, such as complex statistical analysis, advanced calculus techniques and an understanding of the mechanics of the real world. Independent practice is absolutely essential at this level, and the students are regularly assessed to ensure that this is taking place. Teaching is supported by out-of-class learning in subject clinics as well as by individual study and drills. Pupils at all levels are given the opportunity to apply the techniques they are learning, and receive regular feedback in class and through marked work. We also use MyMaths to support our students’ learning so that they are always able to practise independently with instant feedback.
Outside of the curriculum we have a history of huge success in the national UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT) competitions, with many students qualifying for the British Mathematical Olympiad rounds and beyond. Every week we offer a new and devious Problem of the Week, challenging students to think outside the box and use their problem-solving skills to answer the question. Students also have the opportunity to work as a team by competing in local and national Maths competitions as well as taking part in the National Cipher challenge, which involves breaking a set code each week. For those students looking to complete the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) or Maths Admissions Test (MAT) Paper, we also run a weekly preparation group.
Many employers highly value Mathematics qualifications as students develop their logical and analytical thinking during their studies. Through solving problems, pupils develop resilience and are able to think creatively and strategically. The writing of structured solutions, as well as the proof and justification of results, are fundamental to formulate reasoned arguments. More importantly, students develop excellent numeracy skills and the ability to process and interpret data. In order to progress to many courses at university, it is important to have strong mathematics skills. For most science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree courses, A Level Mathematics is a requirement; AS or A Level Further Mathematics is often a preferred subject. Anyone applying to study a degree in a STEM subject should consider taking Further Mathematics to at least AS Level, as the additional content helps ensure a successful progression to university. AS Further Mathematics is accessible to most A Level Mathematics students. Having A Level Further Mathematics on a university application is a great way to make it stand out.