Action is the foundational key to all success.
As part of our continued commitment to supporting pupils to return to their mainstream school, we closely follow the National Curriculum and ensure all pupils make expected or above expected progress.
The department prides itself on developing a love of mathematics and problem solving; we take every opportunity to show that maths is all encompassing and not just numbers. We run daily and weekly challenges across the school on Fridays, display terrible maths jokes and comic strips, and provide problem-solving resources for use across the curriculum.
We are very well resourced: with dedicated classrooms, class sizes of less than 10 and, with 5 hours a week, a generous curriculum entitlement.
Due to the cyclical nature of the maths curriculum, the scheme of work is a 5 year learning journey, ensuring all pupils can make good progress across the 5 strands: number, algebra, statistics, geometry, and proportion.
Teaching in KS3 mixed ability classes is skilfully addressed, developing learning around a central concept with a focus on discovery learning, with appropriate challenge and support to ensure all pupils make good progress, enjoy their learning and are enabled to succeed.
In KS4 the focus is on sharpening key skills and understanding to support their GCSEs and being prepared for either foundation or higher tier examinations. We follow the Edexcel programme of study, like the vast majority of local schools. As is always our focus, we identify gaps in knowledge for each individual pupil, ensuring bespoke learning opportunities.
We support reintegration by following a scheme of work that mirrors local schools, doing regular diagnostic assessments to identify and fill gaps in knowledge. A priority across our teaching is to ensure every pupil increases in confidence in their maths ability, so that this is less of a barrier when returning to mainstream school.
We have high expectations of pupils’ readiness to learn, for example: bringing their own equipment, recording their homework in their planners, and completing tasks to the best of their ability.
We focus on developing valuable transferable mathematical skills in preparation for pupils’ return to mainstream school, and later life. Our pupils develop the skills to work independently, participating in class, and working collaboratively with their peers.
Learning, teaching and lesson planning is exemplary, ensuring that tasks are enjoyable and varied, supporting both new learning and reinforcing the application of mathematical concepts. This includes preparation of bespoke resources, such as our own maths codebreakers, murder mysteries and maths card games/ top trumps, as well as more traditional exercises and real life problem solving opportunities. Wherever possible, practical activities and specialist software are used to strengthen understanding and skills.
GCSE results are above national average, with pupils regularly opting to go on to study A-Level Mathematics.
At STARS we believe that every pupil has the right to achieve their very best in mathematics, and, just as importantly, enjoy their mathematical journey.
As a consequence, maths is a very popular subject, and the pupils are overwhelmingly positive about all aspects of their maths lessons, both in verbal feedback, and as part of the pupil surveys. In addition, we know they take pleasure and pride in their books, the displays of their work and growing collection of mathematical puns and jokes.
Following the department’s vision that maths needs to be seen as the root of all learning, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to enrich pupils’ learning through a variety of visits and visitors. In the past, visits have included the Science Museum and a day at the races – exploring maths in the real world, as well as visiting mathemagicians.
Most recently we have welcomed the Bletchley Park mathematicians back to reveal the secrets of the Park and its role in WW2. After all pupils and staff had a chance to encrypt messages using a real Enigma machine, there were three workshops on codes and ciphers. All those who successfully managed to decode the messages using a range of ciphers were awarded with puzzle books so they could continue to solve conundrums.
Our everyday planning includes mathematical enrichment to enhance cultural capital, and Social Moral Spiritual Cultural (SMSC) learning opportunities, to inspire ‘awe and wonder’. For instance: collaborating with Life Skills and teaching about finance; learning about world populations through data; linking maths to art and entertainment; encouraging an appreciation of how maths is everywhere in real life.