Mathematics differs from nearly every other subject in that, as well as the obvious need to memorise a recognised set of basic facts, it is a logical science. Although, our students in later life will never consciously use much of the actual content of school mathematics, it will train them to tackle and reason a problem using a logical argument. Mathematics is also a generic tool utilised by most other subject departments in the school.
Numeracy is a subset of mathematics and is taught both within the department and across the curriculum as all staff have a responsibility to deliver numeracy. It is also a life skill which permeates and supports all areas of learning, allowing young people access to the wider curriculum. We are numerate if we have developed the confidence and competence in using number to solve problems, analyse information and make informed decisions based on calculations.
“Numeracy is a skill for life, learning and work. Having well-developed numeracy skills allows young people to be more confident in social settings and enhances enjoyment in a large number of leisure activities. For these and many other reasons, all teachers have important parts to play in enhancing the numeracy skills of all children and young people.”
We, the Mathematical Departmental Team, have two main aims in our teaching of Mathematics:
(a) To teach skills that will help our students meet the challenges and problems of the real world. This means we encourage the use of maths as a tool for solving the contextual problems the students will meet when they enter adult life, the world of work & leisure and when they themselves become part of a family unit.
(b) The development and delivery of a quality curriculum that will enable students to have the best possible chance of success in National Examinations is the second aim of the department. Educational success continues to be the most important criteria for entry to the world of work for most people. To achieve success in assessments and examinations, students have to demonstrate what they have learned, discovered or simply been told, when, throughout secondary school they are required to sit recognised externally assessed examinations.
We believe that our teaching should be a balance of mathematical knowledge, reasoning and enquiry, in which basic mathematical skills are developed both by discovery and by the use of direct teaching.
An important aspect the Department Team’s role is the preparation of students for internal assessments, UASPs (Unit Assessment Support Packs) and Nationals 3-5 in both Maths and Lifeskills Maths, Higher and Advanced Higher Level. Each of these examinations is supported by a unique curriculum and associated teaching skills. Additionally, there is a pressure from the students, their parents and future employers to ensure examination success and provide a rounded mathematical education.
The Mathematical skills learned are progressive and it is therefore important that each is consolidated by means of revision, and if need be, assessment, both diagnostic and summative.
The Mathematical Departmental Team believes that assessment throughout S1 to S6 makes students aware of the need to memorise, revise and review their classwork work.
To enable a secondary school to operate efficiency certain standards of behaviour are required and the general standards are set out in the St Andrew’s High School’s policy on Discipline, with additional items pertaining to the Mathematics Department set out in the Mathematics Department Discipline Policy.
The value of homework to support the teaching and learning process is well known to all adults. The way in which homework operates within the Mathematics Department is detailed in the department’s Homework Policy.