Mathematics at Rydal Penrhos School is a thriving and successful subject. The department aims to develop, maintain and stimulate pupils’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment of the subject. By providing opportunities for pupils to develop their problem-solving and investigative skills we expand their understanding of mathematics in a meaningful context, showing how it relates to life outside of school.
Why Study Mathematics?
There is no doubt that the possession of some mathematical knowledge provides an important key to understanding the world in which we live since it occurs in one form or another in so many different aspects of our lives. Simple things like doing the weekly shopping, checking our pay-slips at the end of the month, consulting a rail or bus timetable, timing a procedure or even reading a newspaper can all involve an element of mathematical knowledge.
The scientist uses mathematics as a language which is essential to our understanding of things which occur in the natural world, whilst the engineer must ensure that the proposed bridge or building will withstand the various stresses which will be applied to it, and the economist must be in a position to recognise trends in financial dealings. These applications are obvious but remember also that, for example, the musician will need to appreciate the mathematical relationships within and between rhythms and the artist has to understand perspective.
Mathematics features so prominently in people’s lives that it is difficult to imagine not studying it at some level.
Mathematics is taken by all students at Key Stage 3 and GCSE level, where all pupils take the linear IGCSE Mathematics course, an internationally recognised alternative to GCSE, using the Edexcel examination board. Typically, top sets are accelerated to IGCSE early, and then tackle the more demanding WJEC Additional Mathematics course, in order to better prepare for Sixth Form courses.
Mathematics is a popular choice at A-level, and for the more able, the option of an additional A-level in Further Mathematics provides plenty of extension and challenge. From September 2017, these courses will become linear, with pupils studying compulsory content for Mathematics (consisting of Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Mechanics), and for Further Mathematics having the option of studying combinations of Further Statistics, Further Mechanics and Decision Mathematics to complement their Further Pure Mathematics.
The department has a suite of six classrooms, all containing networked computer access to the Internet as well as interactive whiteboard facilities, enabling staff to teach in a variety of styles. Up-to-date textbooks are used across all Key Stages, there is access to a well-equipped Learning Resource Centre, and the department also has a stock of 20 TI n-Spire Graphical Display Calculators (GDCs) allowing staff and pupils to use the latest technology to their advantage to plot graphs and determine intersects, calculate statistics for distributions and regression, and quickly calculate solutions to more advanced algebraic problems, to name but a few things.
The department enters many pupils each year, with a great deal of success, for the UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Individual Mathematical Challenges at Junior, Intermediate and Senior level, as well as teams for the UKMT Team and Senior Team Challenges, and individual entries for the Mathematical Education on Merseyside (MEM) competition. A favourite event of the year is the annual visit to the Maths Inspiration Lectures, a national programme of interactive maths lecture shows for teenagers, providing a chance to experience the UK's most inspiring maths speakers live in theatres, presenting mathematics in the context of exciting, real-world applications.