Subject Overview of Maths

Key Stage 3

Mathematics, at Key Stage 3, is designed to give pupils a wider understanding of how the world around them works and prepare them for making decisions, solving problems and processing everyday information. It is important that pupils develop skills such as calculating, logical thinking and investigating. It enables pupils to:

  • understand quantity and measures.
  • appreciate patterns and relationships.
  • explore size and shape.
  • analyse data and chance.

Financial Capability is also developed throughout Key Stage 3 Mathematics with pupils being provided opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of financial issues so that they are able to manage money well both in terms of day to day life but also through significant life events like buying a car or moving home.

During the first term of years 8 & 9 pupils are encouraged to use mental strategies and pen and paper methods when carrying out calculations building up their mathematical confidence and competence.  The use of the calculator is allowed from September, however, we do ask pupils to show all their workings. We encourage pupils not to become over reliant on calculators to the detriment of mental skills.

Using Mathematics – Cross Curricular Skill

Using Mathematics is the skill of applying mathematical concepts, processes and understanding appropriately in different contexts. It is one of the three Cross- Curricular Skills at the heart of the curriculum.Pupils are provided with opportunities to acquire and consolidate their mathematical knowledge and skills within Maths with links to other contexts across the curriculum made and encouraged.

Opportunities to demonstrate mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills in a variety of ways to communicate, manage information, think critically, solve problems and make decisions are also provided.

CCEA’s Levels of Progression for Using Mathematics are used as a framework to support the development of pupil’s numeracy skills within Key Stage 3 Maths.  A departmental bank of Key Stage 3 Using Maths tasks has been collated to provide pupils with the opportunity to apply their Mathematical skills across a range of areas and contexts.

Problem-solving skills
Problem solving is central to Maths, as highlighted by its increasing presence within the strands of the Cross Curricular Skill of Using Mathematics, as pupils move through the Key Stages. The process of developing pupil’s ability to problem solve is complex and is greatly affected by a pupil’s

  • topic specific knowledge & understanding,
  • organisation & application
  • confidence & previous exposure

Frequent retrieval of knowledge and skills is vitally important to ensure that fluency and mathematical reasoning is continually maintained and enhanced.  Colin Foster (2019), a reader in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University, says,

“I think of fluency and mathematical reasoning, not as ends in themselves,
but as means to support students in the most important goal of all: solving problems.”

The Maths Department encourages the use of CCEA’s TIER strategy and accompanying resources to support pupils to progress through tasks which become increasingly less structured and familiar; assisting pupils to become more independent problem solvers.

Accelerated Maths

Accelerated Maths provides pupils with individualised assignments that challenge them, at an appropriate level, on the skills they need to work on most, thus improving their confidence and skills.

The College has purchased 300 pupil licences for Accelerated Maths.  This programme is delivered to fourteen Maths classes across Key Stage 3 and 4.  These classes are allocated to a computer room once a fortnight.  In addition to this Key Stage 3 pupils whose attainment is identified as requiring some further support receive one session of Accelerated Maths per week, scheduled during registration.

Accelerated Maths, like Accelerated Reader, is accessible from home through the Home Connect link – This website enables pupils to continue working on their set assignments and provides an overview of pupil progress.

Pupils involved with the programme undertake a Star Maths tests in September, December, March and May/June.  Tests are computer-adaptive meaning that each question is adapted to the pupil’s abilities, ensuring the tests are personalised and fair.  The data and reports produced assist the identification of gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills and support the assignment of tasks on the Accelerated Maths platform.

Key Stage 4

Pupils are placed on one of three different pathways for GCSE Maths, depending on their Year 10 outcomes.

GCSE Mathematics – Foundation Level – M2 & M5 or M6 (2 years)

GCSE Mathematics Higher Level – M3 or 4 & M7 or 8  (2 years)

GCSE Mathematics – Higher Level – M4 & M8 (1 year – Year 11)
then GCSE Further Mathematics – Unit 1,2 &3 (1 year – Year 12)

All GCSE examinations are taken with the CCEA examination board.

The areas of Maths studied are:

  1. Number
  2. Algebra
  3. Geometry and Measure
  4. Handling Data

The course is assessed at Higher Tier or Foundation Tier with written papers and there is no controlled assessment.

Pupils take Module M1-M4 worth 45% of the GCSE qualification and a Completion Paper M5-M8 worth 55% of the qualification. Performance in assessments will be used to determine the Tier of entry and the corresponding module examination.

Textbooks available for use in this course are Higher GCSE Mathematics for CCEA and Foundation GCSE Mathematics for CCEA and a digital copy is available for pupils through our shared resources.

CCEA GCSE Mathematics Specification

CCEA GCSE Further Mathematics Specification

Key Stage 5


AS & A2.


Mathematics is a challenging subject at AS and A2 level and pupils would need to be sufficiently motivated to succeed. This course enables pupils to develop problem solving skills, an ability to reason, to classify, to generalise and prove. Mathematics is suitable for both specialists in the subject and those whose main interests lie in other spheres.

Minimum Qualifications.

Grade A GCSE Maths with compulsory M4 & M8 Modules.  GCSE Further Mathematics preferred.

Induction Test

A diagnostic test will be taken in the first two weeks of term and a minimum of a Grade C (65%) must be achieved to continue on this AS course.