The aim of the Department is to teach Mathematics in a meaningful context whilst providing opportunities for pupils to use their skills creatively through problem solving and investigation.
Each teacher in the department endeavours to provide a variety of experiences and activities wherever possible. It is believed that actively involving students in their learning will help them to develop the independent thinking and informed planning which will ultimately lead to success on the IB Diploma courses. The Department places a great emphasis on independent learning. In support of this, pupils can seek help through the tutorial system run by the Department throughout the School week.
Pupils enter Year 8 at St Leonards both from the Junior School and from other feeder primary schools. Teaching at this age is therefore based on an individualised learning scheme. This allows students to settle into the School’s systems and to work at a level and rate that is comfortable and confidence building. In Year 9 pupils start GCSE courses with the intention of sitting the final exam in two or three years. The majority of students will sit the GCSE exam at the end of Year 11 at either Higher or Foundation level depending on their progress over the three years. Some students may be encouraged to follow an accelerated two year course and sit the exam at the end of Year 10. Students who successfully complete their GCSE Maths in Year 10 will follow the IGCSE syllabus - along with those joining the School for the Pre-IB one year course - and sit the exam at the end of Year 11. It is felt that following the IGCSE syllabus will help prepare those students intending to follow the Higher Level and Standard Level IB Diploma Mathematics courses.
There are three IB Diploma Mathematics courses offered at St Leonards. The Higher Level course is taken by the best mathematics students. Higher Level pupils would be intending to follow mathematics, science, engineering and economics courses at university. The Standard Level course also requires sound mathematical skills as there is a certain overlap of topics taught with the Higher Level course, but in less detail. Students taking the Standard Level course might be intending to follow science, medicine or economics courses at university. The Maths Studies course is available to pupils whose main interests are in the arts or languages. The intention of these students would be to study social sciences, languages, drama or the arts at university. All three courses involve 80% external examinations and 20% coursework, which is also externally moderated.
Achievements add up!
Pupils are given the chance to take part in a range of national Mathematics competitions. In particular, students regularly enjoy success in the highly regarded UKMT (UK Mathematics Trust) Mathematical Challenges.