Welcome to the Mathematics Department
Aims of the Subject
Mathematics is a compulsory core subject, along with English and science, throughout years 7 to 11. A good GCSE grade in mathematics is widely recognised as a very important qualification. The mathematics courses provided in Glan-y-Môr School allow students to develop important numerical skills but also cover a wide range of mathematical content including algebra; shape, space and measurement and handling data.
Mathematics is a vitally important subject for many reasons, including for example:
- It helps to develop an individual’s numerical skills
- It has a key role in scientific and technological development
- It is an essential tool in commerce and industry
- It is a powerful language that allows us to explain and predict situations.
A good qualification in mathematics gives access to a very wide range of career opportunities. These could include working in the fields of Finance & Economics, Science, Technology, Accountancy and Engineering, to name but a few. Employers regard ability in mathematics as a very important skill.
Programmes of Study
Key Stage 3, Years 7 to 9
Throughout key stage 3 pupils follow a programme of study in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum in Wales. The schemes of work in all three year groups cover a wide range of mathematical topics under the general headings of number; algebra; shape, space and measurement and handling data. Pupils are also given opportunities to use and apply their mathematical knowledge and understanding in a variety of problem solving contexts. In years 8 and 9, one lesson per fortnight is designated as a numeracy lesson and pupils work on developing their numeracy skills. The content of these lessons helps to prepare pupils for the National Numeracy Tests, which are taken towards the end of each school year.
Pupils are arranged in ability groups throughout the key stage and the schemes of work are differentiated to ensure that all pupils are appropriately challenged within their teaching group. Pupils are tested at regular intervals throughout the year and there are school examinations for all year groups in addition to the National Numeracy Tests mentioned above. There is also thorough tracking of pupil progress against National Curriculum levels on a termly basis.
The whole programme of study is seen as a continuum that helps to prepare students for GCSE mathematics in key stage 4. There is extensive use of GCSE style resources throughout the key stage and particularly in year 9. At the end of year 9 all pupils are given a teacher assessment level, in line with the requirements of the national curriculum.
Programmes of Study
Key Stage 4, Years 10 &11
Pupils are working towards GCSE mathematics, following the WJEC linear course. This is currently available at two levels: Higher Tier and Foundation Tier.
At Higher Tier the grades available are A*, A, B, C and D.
At Foundation Tier the grades available are C, D, E, F and G.
The specifications for these examinations can be found at:
As for key stage 3, the specification requires the study of a wide range of mathematical topics under the general headings of number; algebra; shape, space and measurement and handling data. Pupils are also given opportunities to use and apply their mathematical knowledge and understanding in a variety of problem solving contexts. This has become an increasingly important skill at GCSE level in recent years.
Pupils are arranged in ability sets throughout the key stage and schemes of work are highly differentiated to ensure that all pupils are appropriately challenged within their teaching group. Pupils are entered for the examination tier that allows them to achieve the highest possible grade, whilst showing positive achievement within the subject. Pupils are tested at regular intervals throughout years 10 and 11 and there is also thorough tracking of pupil progress against GCSE target grades on a termly basis.
Assessment is by means of two examination papers at the end of the course. Paper 1 is a non-calculator paper but a calculator will be required for paper 2. There are no controlled assessments or coursework tasks. These examinations will normally be taken at the end of year 11 but some pupils will be given the opportunity to sit examinations before this, dependent on their progress.
GCSE Mathematics courses are being substantially revised from September 2015. The information on this website will be updated when the details are finalised.
All Glan-y-Môr students have access to the MyMaths website at: www.mymaths.co.uk. This is a very useful resource for homework activities, online lessons and revision.
Another very useful resource for students in all year groups is the BBC Bitesize website at: www.bbc.co.uk/education
Key Stage 4 students can access the maths GCSE section of the WJEC website at: www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/mathematics/mathematics-gcse/. This has past papers, marking schemes, specifications and other resources.
A much more comprehensive collection of past papers can be accessed via the Glan-y-Môr moodle website at: http://elearning.sirgar.com/glanymor/
So What Is Sumdog?
Sumdog is a website that uses educational games to motivate students in maths, reading and writing. Its adaptive learning engine monitors and guides them as they work. Sumdog's maths questions are free to use, without any time limit. They include word problems, and cover a broad range of topics.
When students master skills, Sumdog rewards them: they earn pets, and their pets learn tricks. Sumdog is unusual, in that students can practise any skill with any game.
While students choose what they play, teachers retain control over what they learn. It's great for motivation: when the pupil moves on to a new skill, they can still use their favourite game to work on it.
Most of Sumdog's maths games, and a couple of writing games, are always free to play.
In a Sumdog contest, of which there are several over the year, both at county and national level, success is based on accuracy. Sumdog's adaptive learning engine ensures every competitor is challenged at the right level, so everyone has an even chance of winning.
As students play, Sumdog's Progress Hub™ tracks their progress and rewards their growth. Each mastered skill gives the pupil’s on-screen pet a new trick; every tenth skill gets them a new pet. Progress Hub™ also rewards each correct answer with a virtual coin. Each student has an on-screen avatar, which they can customise by buying clothes and accessories with the coins they earn. This motivates them to answer more questions - so they can enjoy the fruits of their labour. Each student also has his or her own on-screen house. They use their coins to decorate it. Some time decorating their Sumdog house is a great reward after a practise session.
The pupils at Glan-y-Môr School certainly enjoy using Sumdog and pupils of all abilities are eager to engage with it. It has been a great success since it’s introduction into the school, promoting both the subject and our mathematics department but more importantly strengthening the pupils’ numeracy skills through the medium of enjoyable, educational games!