We live in a world where to have a solid understanding of maths stands you in good stead. That is why at Gloucester Academy we look for new initiatives to help prepare our students for their GCSE in mathematics and life after school.
This year students will be introduced to factual mathematical books and mathematical storybooks showing maths in a wider context. The opportunity to read these storybooks will give students a better chance to enter The Young Mathematical Story Author annual international competition. Students will also be completing courses through The Open University on finance and Stanford University for Growth Mindset, and completing a calculator course in class (when two out of three of your GCSE exams are calculator based, understanding how to use a scientific calculator is a must!)
The department have worked hard to make connections with people in industry who are willing to mentor our students and have numerous outside speakers coming in to talk about the maths they use in their jobs. This is also the first year that students in Years 7 to 10 will be having a dedicated lesson every two weeks on personal finance. This will help students understand the types of bank accounts available, the difference between credit and debit and much more! Year 11 will also have finance sessions from The Money Charity to enhance their financial education; their mathematical skills, and some will also be part of a talk from The Bank of England.
The department runs a popular Numeracy Club every week with our Numeracy Ambassadors, who are identifiable through their proudly worn badges. The club Girls Who Code will be starting in 2020, which is completed through an international non-profit organisation working to close the gender gap in technology. The department are delighted to be a part of Maths Week England and to be entering students for The UK Mathematics Trust Challenge with students winning some fantastic awards!
The department strive for new ways to show students maths in real life contexts out of the classroom and have done this through trips to Thorpe Park looking at the maths used and Chepstow Racecourse (through Racing To School) with a behind the scenes look at a racecourse to learn about the variety of maths that is used.
In the department, students are set from Year 7 to ensure their needs are met accordingly. The mastery approach is at the core of the department’s teaching, enabling students to apply the mathematics learnt in lessons. Numeracy levels are assessed three times a year so that the whole school can address any numeracy needs students have. Interventions take place in lesson time with a dedicated KS3 intervention lead. Students are assessed on their maths with in class tests, with time given to students to work on their gaps of knowledge. Homework is set weekly; on a week one it is a paper based homework with research elements. Week two is an online homework set on SAM Learning.
Students start the Maths GCSE course after the May half term in Year 9 so they have a full two years to cover the content. Students have Exam Prep booklets to complete every holiday. The work in these booklets is crucial, as it is cumulative, ensuring content is regularly revisited. After every holiday, there is always a First Lesson Back Assessment. Each assessment is linked to the Exam Prep booklets; those students who complete the booklets always find they perform better as they have recently revisited the work. After the assessments, students receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses, with time set aside in lessons working on their individual gaps in knowledge. Homework is set weekly, and you can find the links for the homework schedule below. We also have a KS4 intervention lead who works with groups of four students during lesson time; half of the lesson is working on an area identified from an assessment and the other half is spent working on what the rest of the class is working on so that students in intervention do not fall behind. Intervention for Year 11 also happens in small groups at tutor time and after school with areas identified for students. Students are also encouraged to practice their maths daily through the daily Twitter question, tweeted through @gamaths – it is also a way of students getting quick support when not in school.
Students’ absence is an area that the department address through setting online work on MathsWatch. The task set has a video explaining the maths and a bank of questions for students to answer. Home are informed via text and the student has a sticker placed in their book that they have to fill in on their return explaining how they found the task with room for teacher feedback.