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Mathematics

Head of Department: Mrs C A Gamble MA (Cantab) 
Email: christine.gamble@epsomcollege.org.uk

Mathematics is indeed the start of everything and it is a vital subject for life, even when it is not directly applied. It encourages people to think and a firm grounding in mathematics allows everyone to maximise their potential. We wish to encourage students to think, to realise the importance of mathematics and most importantly to discover that mathematics is fun.

The joy of successfully solving a problem or even grasping a different idea can be extraordinary and everyone should have this opportunity.

We aim to ensure that all IGCSE students produce their very best, in order to facilitate the opportunity to study the subject further, or to progress into different areas with greater confidence.

Those that choose their AS and A2 subjects wisely will benefit from studying mathematics for its scientific rigour and its natural artistic beauty.

Follow the links below to learn more about Mathematics at Epsom College.

Courses

Year 7/Third Form

Pupils joining the Third Form are taught for the first half-term in mixed ability groups, while teachers assess their prior attainment and the most suitable pace of teaching for each pupil.

All groups cover the basics during this time - working first with integers, then fractions, decimal and percentages. The whole year-group then sits the first block test on the work covered in the first half-term; these results are used - together with teacher assessment and entrance examination results - to place pupils in three sets. Pupils then go on to study algebra, geometry, statistics and probability during the year.

Sets are reviewed at the end of each term and there may be some set moves within the year. All sets cover the same course and take the same assessments but at a different pace with more extension work in the higher groups. All sets take the same examination at the end of the Third Form, which is based on material covered during the year. Sets for Lower Fourth are based upon performance in this examination.

All Third Form pupils have three lessons of mathematics per week.

 

Year 8 / Lower Fourth

Setting in Lower Fourth is determined by performance in the end of year exams or entrance exams for pupils joining the College in Lower Fourth. There are currently three sets in Lower Fourth and there may be a small amount of movement between sets during the year. The Lower Fourth course covers further work on number, algebra and geometry.

All Lower Fourth pupils have three lessons of mathematics per week.

 

Year 9/Middle Fourth

Pupils joining Middle Fourth are taught for the first four weeks in mixed ability groups, while teachers assess their prior attainment and the most suitable pace of teaching for each pupil.

All groups cover the basics of algebra during this time, including simplifying, expanding expressions, and solving linear equations. The whole year group then sits the first block test on the algebra covered in the first four weeks; these results are used - together with teacher assessment and entrance examination results - to place pupils in sets.

There are two parallel top sets, three parallel middle sets and two lower sets for pupils who need some extra support to target top grades at IGCSE.

Sets are reviewed at the end of each term and there may be some set moves within the year. All sets cover the same course and take the same assessments but at a different pace with more extension work in the higher groups.

The course includes further work on algebra, geometry, number, statistics and probability. All sets take the same examination at the end of the year, which is based on material covered throughout the year. Sets for Upper Fourth are based upon performance in this examination.

All Middle Fourth pupils have three lessons of mathematics per week.

 

IGCSE (Years 10 and 11 / Upper Fourth and Fifth Form)

Epsom College pupils achieve highly at IGCSE. Over the last two years around 80% of pupils have gained an A or A* with 100% achieving A*-C grades.

All pupils study the higher IGCSE course and pupils from all sets achieve these top grades; being in one of the lower sets is no bar to achievement and often the small size of these groups allows pupils to gain confidence and perform to a high standard.

Results in Further Mathematics are equally impressive with the vast majority gaining grade A or above in this challenging examination.

Setting in Upper Fourth and Fifth Form is determined by performance in the end of year exams or entrance exams for pupils joining the College in Upper Fourth. There may be a small amount of movement between sets during the year and after the end of year examinations.

There are two Extension sets. Pupils in these groups study the Edexcel Higher IGCSE (9-1) course at an accelerated pace in parallel with the AQA Level 2 Further Mathematics qualification. Pupils in these groups not only need to be strong mathematicians but they are also expected to have an interest in studying harder topics and in challenging themselves to understand more difficult concepts as there is a large amount of extension work. Only those pupils who have demonstrated sufficiently strong performance and motivation can expect to study both qualifications.

The Higher sets are numbered from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest set study the Edexcel Higher IGCSE (9-1) course.

All Upper Fourth and Fifth Form pupils have four lessons of mathematics per week.

 

A-level 

Pupils studying mathematics at Epsom generally achieve excellent results, though of course your grade will depend on how committed you are to your studies and how much work you are prepared to do outside of lessons. Over the last two years around 70% of pupils taking maths in the Upper Sixth gained an A or A*, and over 90% achieved A*-B. The figures for Further Mathematics are similar.

Mathematics is a very useful basis for most careers, and is a prerequisite for most degree courses in the Sciences, Economics, Computing and Engineering. It is also good grounding for logical development of the mind. However, although it is an important qualification, it is not for everyone and the decision to study this subject at A-level should be a carefully considered one.

The Mathematics A-level changed in September 2017 and will now be a linear two-year course for pupils starting their A-level studies in September 2017. Content is completely specified for A-level by the UK Government and is independent of the examination board; all pupils study both Pure and Applied Mathematics. We follow the Edexcel courses in A-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

Course requirements

Mathematics is a very challenging A-level. It is essential to have obtained at least a high grade A or a high 7 at GCSE/IGCSE in order to to start on the course.

Pure Mathematics

Pure Mathematics makes up around two-thirds of the course. The A-level will develop and expand GCSE skills in algebra, trigonometry, co-ordinate geometry and calculus techniques. This content is assessed across two equally weighted papers of two hours each. Any pure topic may appear on either paper and calculators are to be used on both papers.

Applied Mathematics

The new A-level specification dictates that pupils study both mechanics and statistics. This makes up the remaining third of the course and is assessed via a separate two-hour paper. The Statistics content extends the statistical techniques studied at GCSE and introduces some new ideas about correlation between variables, several probability distributions including the Normal and Binomial distributions and hypothesis testing. It also involves the study of a specified large data set with which pupils are expected to be familiar in the final examination. The Mechanics content covers applications involving forces, kinematics of motion in a straight line and vectors.

Further Mathematics

Further Mathematics is an additional A-level qualification that can be taken alongside A-level Mathematics as a Core Curriculum option. This is a very demanding option and it is strongly advised that you talk to your current mathematics teacher if you are considering the course. You should have obtained a high A* or 9 grade at GCSE/IGCSE. Pupils studying Mathematics and Further Mathematics are taught separately to those studying A-level Mathematics and will gain two full A-levels at the end of the two-year course.

Course Structure

Final examinations in A-level Further Mathematics consist of four one and half hour papers. There are two compulsory Further Pure papers and then two additional papers chosen from a range of Additional Further Pure, Further Mechanics, Further Statistics and Decision. Pupils at Epsom will generally study Further Mechanics 1 and Further Statistics 1 for these options as they provide the best preparation for a range of University courses.

 

Department Staff

Head of Department

*Mrs C A Gamble MA (Cantab)

 

Department Teaching Staff

Mr R J Alton MA (Cantab), MPhys 

Mrs F G Buzzacott BSc (Exeter)

Mrs K M Hancock BSc (London School of Economics)

Mr S Hibbitt BA (York)

Mr M Holmes BSc (Manchester Metropolitan) 

Mr E G Lance BSc (Dunelm) 

Miss J Morris BSc, PGDip (University of Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand) 

Mr D T Reeve BSc, MRes (Lancaster)

Miss F K Smith BSc (Bristol)

Mr J F Stephens BSc (Liverpool)

Mr J D Wallace MEng (Oxon)

Mr P J Williams BSc (Dunelm)

Mr A J Wilson BSc, MSc (Warwick)

Facilities

The Department has eight well designed classrooms all equipped with smartboards.

Activities

Students have the opportunity to tackle various Maths competitions - the Junior Mathematical Challenge in Years 7 and 8, Intermediate Mathematical Challenge in Years 9, 10 and 11 and the Senior Mathematical Challenge in Years 12 and 13. Those that perform well will be invited to the challenging further stages, such as the British Mathematical Olympiad. A number of students are usually invited to masterclasses and summer schools as a result of their performance in these challenges.

We also enter the Senior Team Maths Challenge in the regional heat hosted at the college and the Year 10 Maths Feast event. With the arrival of our new Lower School pupils we will also be able to enter the Y8/9 Maths Team challenge.

All pupils have the opportunity to take part in maths enrichment activities and to hear from visiting speakers.