We are a large department in College offering a wide range of courses designed to meet the needs of all students coming to College and hoping to further their mathematical education. We are a lively and enthusiastic department that works hard to offer students a rich and varied experience in the classroom.
Whether you are simply hoping to achieve that elusive grade 4 at GCSE, whether you need a sound mathematical grounding to support your other subjects or whether you wish to be challenged and extended in preparation for Mathematics at university, we have courses for you – and a team of highly qualified staff to deliver them.
The Mathematics department has its own study area where students congregate, discuss and solve problems together. Staff are readily on hand to assist.
The department organises trips to hear internationally renowned speakers talk about areas of current mathematical interest and to get a sense of what studying Mathematics beyond the sixth form might involve. Past talks have included “Maths on the Back of an Envelope” – about quick, effective methods for obtaining approximate answers, “Maths on Trial” – about the use and misuse of mathematics in the courtroom and ”Adventures in the 4th Dimension” – about how mathematics can take us beyond the 3 dimensions to which we are all accustomed!
Courses Offered by the Department
This is one of the most popular subjects in the College and complements a number of other subjects including those in the sciences and humanities. It builds on work that you have studied at GCSE and seeks to develop new concepts and techniques for solving a variety of abstract mathematical problems as well as those with real world applications. During your Mathematics lessons you will be involved in problem-solving activities and class discussions as well as group work, card activities and online quizzes. There will be opportunities to use current technology, including graphic calculators and computer software. The course is two thirds Pure Maths with the other third split equally between Statistics and Mechanics.
- Pure mathematics This develops the algebraic and graphical work covered at GCSE and covers topics such as proof, trigonometry, logarithms, calculus and vectors.
- Statistics This includes the collection, presentation and analysis of data and considers how to determine the probability of events such as winning the lottery. Students will have the opportunity to study a large data set in depth and explore this data set using appropriate technology.
- Mechanics This studies the motion of objects and how they respond when forces are applied to them. This subject complements some of the principles studied in Physics
All students studying Mathematics are given the opportunity to enter the UKMT Senior Mathematics Challenge. This is a national competition that gives students the opportunity to try interesting and challenging mathematical problems. For students who fare particularly well, there is the chance to compete in the British Mathematical Olympiad, the first stage in selecting a UK team for the International Mathematical Olympiad!
Mathematics is a very useful subject both in its own right and as a support for other subject areas. Candidates with high levels of mathematical skills are highly sought after and Mathematics A level equips you with skills that will prove valuable in a variety of jobs and higher education courses. Mathematics is a significant component of many subjects taken at degree level including sciences, finance, management and social science courses.
Students with an aptitude for mathematics and a keen interest in the subject can opt to take A Level Further Mathematics alongside A Level Mathematics. The course extends and deepens students’ knowledge of the material taught in the “single” subject and introduces a variety of challenging and interesting topics that students studying mathematical degree subjects are likely to meet at university. Pure mathematics makes up 50% of A Level Further Mathematics with statistics and mechanics (each accounting for25%) making up the remainder.
- Pure mathematics Topics include complex numbers, differential equations, matrices and vectors.
- Statistics Topics include hypothesis testing, correlation and regression, discrete random variables, and a detailed study of the normal distribution.
- Mechanics Topics include collisions, circular motion, centres of mass and work, energy and power. Mechanics supports topics taught in A Level physics particularly well
Students studying Further Mathematics at College take AS Further Mathematics at the end of year 12 and, in the light of the result, can opt to either complete A levels in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics in year 13 or to simply complete A Level Mathematics.
Further Mathematics is a qualification with high status amongst both universities and employers. Former students have gone on to study a host of degree courses at top universities including Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Electronics, Statistics, Econometrics, Chemical Engineering, Biology, Computing, Natural Sciences and others.
Statistics will build on the data handling and probability skills you developed through GCSE Mathematics and will teach you more about how to collect, analyse and summarise data in order to arrive at conclusions about it. Many of the ideas you will meet in this course have applications in a wide variety of other fields. Statistics is a particularly useful complement to those taking subjects such as Biology, Psychology, Geography, Sociology, Economics, Business Studies or Mathematics. It is also useful for students considering studying a degree course where research skills and statistical analysis will be an important part of the course.
The Statistics course aims to develop your understanding using a variety of approaches to learning. Apart from tutor led lessons with the whole class, there are opportunities for group work and for learning work on your own, with your tutors support. Computers are available for you to use in College and both computers and graphic calculators are used throughout the course. Teaching uses textbooks, which include explanations, development work, examples and summaries, as well as exercises. Some topics are introduced with an investigation or a practical experiment, often using computer software or graphical calculators.
A graphical calculator is essential for this course and will be used extensively for lessons and homework. It can be used in all written examinations and you will find that the statistical functions will make many calculations much easier.
Statistics is a very valuable subject to have studied at A Level and universities will look favourably at candidates who have this qualification. Many degree courses involve some statistical work and students who have studied Statistics will have an advantage. If you wish to continue studying Statistics at university it is important that you also study A Level Mathematics.
For many people the study of Statistics will be an essential element in their workplace, especially those working in science, finance and management. This course will be very useful in providing you with some of the skills and techniques required in handling statistics. Examples of career areas which involve statistics on a regular basis: Medicine, Weather Forecasting, Emergency Planning, Disease Control and Prediction, Medical Research, Quality Control and Stock Market Analysis.
Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths) is a course which is intended for students who have achieved a grade 4 or above at GCSE and are keen to extend their GCSE Maths skills for future study or work, but aren’t planning on taking Mathematics at AS or A Level. It helps to develop students’ mathematical thinking and skills.
Core Maths supports courses such as A Level Psychology, Business Studies, Sciences and Geography. At the end of the one-year course, you will receive a Level 3 Certificate in Mathematical Studies (which provides evidence of mathematical ability at AS Level). Studying Mathematics in context through Core Maths will equip you with a number of transferable skills recognised by universities and employers alike.
GCSE Maths is an essential qualification required for many careers, some higher education courses and some courses at college. Students are provided with an opportunity to improve their GCSE grade and acquire very useful skills for everyday life. Any student who has not already achieved at least the pass grade 4 will have to study Maths at level 2 (GCSE or Functional Skills).
Most students follow the course at Foundation level. Students have the opportunity to take the exams in June or to follow an accelerated course and take exams in November and January.
The Higher level course is a short revision course for students who already have at least grade 5 and are aiming for/require Grade 6 or better for their career choice or university course. The Higher exams are taken in November.
Standard College entry requirements will be expected. The Maths GCSE grade required for the GCSE Foundation course is a 3. Students with grade 2 or less will be enrolled onto the Edexcel Functional Skills in Mathematics course. This is a level 2 Diploma qualification.
All the GCSE courses cover Probability, Statistics, Number, Algebra, Geometry and Measures. Practice will be given with the new problem solving type of question. Past papers and exam-style questions are set throughout the courses, with particular emphasis on examination techniques. The content of the Functional Skills Mathematics course is mostly a subset of the GCSE Mathematics content. Topics will be from all aspects of GCSE and practice will be particularly aimed at improving students’ functional approach to mathematics in real-life scenarios.
Students who improve their GCSE grade may have a greater range of courses available to them.
The department offers extension lessons for year 2 students hoping to take the Advanced Extension Award Paper in Mathematics or the Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) set by Cambridge Assessment. These offer excellent preparation for students hoping to study Mathematics at university and are sometimes qualifications required of students hoping to get into top universities.
The department also runs the college chess club.
Please see our Courses page for full details of all the courses offered by the college.