The Maths teachers and maths TA are all very experienced, with previous whole school responsibilities, which impacts on planning, schemes of work and evaluation of learning and progress. Ongoing additional opportunities include leading maths enrichment activities for teachers across South London, which enhances the learning at STARS. Our Maths teaching assistant provides outstanding in- class support and 1:1 guidance.
The department prides itself on developing a love of mathematics and problem solving, over and above what happens in the classroom; we take every opportunity to show that maths is all encompassing and not just numbers. We run puzzle competitions, weekly challenges, display terrible maths jokes and comic strips and provide problem-solving resources for use across the curriculum.
We are very well resourced, in terms of 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 new strands: number, algebra, statistics, geometry, and proportion. Teaching in KS3 mixed ability classes is skilfully addressed, developing learning around a central concept with appropriate challenge and support to ensure all pupils make good progress, enjoy their learning and are challenged to succeed.
Learning and Teaching is outstanding across the department, as judged by lesson observations, learning walks, pupil views and progress.
Lesson planning is exemplary, ensuring that tasks are enjoyable and varied, supporting both new learning and reinforcing the application of maths concepts. This includes preparation of bespoke resources, such as our own maths jigsaws, 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 2017/2018 were our best ever – some 80% of all pupils who attended throughout Year 11 gained grades 4 - 9. We also entered two pupils for an additional qualification at Entry 3 level: both passed with flying colours.
At STARS we believe that every pupil has the right to achieve their very best in maths – and, just as importantly, enjoy their lessons and have a lot of enjoyment along the mathematical path.
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 work and growing collection of mathematical puns and jokes.
Following the department’s vision that maths needs to be seen as the root all learning, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to enrich our learning through a variety of visits and visitors. Visits include the Science Museum and a day at the races – exploring maths in the real world.
The highlight of last year was our code breaking day, when we were delighted to welcome mathematicians from Bletchley Park, bring THE Enigma Machine to us. The accompanying explanations of its use in shortening the war and the use of maths to save lives – as well as a proper hands-on session - was unforgettable.
Recently we also welcomed Rob Eastaway, the popular maths author and Mathamagician, who spent his time with us showing magic tricks and mind reading conundrums, as well as divulging just how those mystifying card tricks work, to the delight of all pupils and teachers present action.
Our maths murder mystery day is also likely to become an annual fixture: a mixture of blood, red herrings and codebreaking led to our ‘murderers’ being apprehended and arrested by the end of the school day!
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