Exam Board Subject Leader
Edexcel Miss M Carpenter

The aims of the Mathematics Department for those studying GCSE are to enable students to:

  • develop knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods
  • select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems
  • reason, make deductions and draw conclusions
  • interpret and communicate information in a variety of ways appropriate to context 


The foundation work is started in Year 9 and continued into Year 10 and 11. The decision as to which level (Higher or Foundation) a student takes is left until the Mock results taken in Year 11 but generally Sets 1 - 4 will take Higher and 5 - 7 will take Foundation.



At GCSE, there are two tiers of assessment for mathematics: foundation and higher. The qualification consists of three equally weighted written exams at either foundation or higher tier (i.e. you cannot sit a combination of foundation and higher exams).

  • Paper 1 is a non-calculator exam lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, and is worth 80 marks.
  • Papers 2 and 3 are calculator exams, each lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes and worth 80 mark.

Note that for all three papers, questions are set in both mathematical and non-mathematical contexts. The grades given at the end of the GCSE (on a scale of 9 to 1) are based on the total marks from all three papers, where 9 is the highest achievable grade. The final grades achievable at the end of the GCSE are:

  • Foundation Tier: Grades 1 to 5
  • Higher Tier: Grades 4 to 9

There is a greater emphasis on mathematical problem solving, reasoning and communication in the new GCSE Mathematics course. Students will need to learn more formulae and, with the change in structure of exams, more will be demanded of them.


Course in Year 10

In Year 10, the GCSE Mathematics course is broken into:

  • Autumn Term
    • Algebra (1): sequences (linear and quadratic), single and double brackets, factorisation (single and quadratic)
    • Geometry: exterior and interior angles of polygons, circle theorems
    • Arithmetic: fractions and decimals, accuracy, standard form
  • Spring Term
    • Arithmetic (continued): accuracy, percentages, ratio
    • Handling Data: grouped data, averages, cumulative frequency curves, probability
    • Algebra (2): indices, equations, simultaneous equations
  • Summer Term
    • Probability: mutually exclusive and independent events, conditional probability
    • Pythagoras: distance between two coordinates, surd form
    • Trigonometry: 2-dimensional problems, bearings, angles of elevation and depression


Course in Year 11

The GCSE Mathematics course in Year 11 is broken into:

  • Autumn Term
    • Area and Volume: volumes and surface areas of 2D and 3D shapes, formulae in reverse, Arc length and area of sectors, units
    • Coordinate Geometry: mid-point of a line, equation of a line, inequalities and regions, 3D coordinates
    • Transformations: reflections, rotations, enlargements and translations
  • Spring Term
    • Handling Data: revision of graphs and averages, histograms
    • Algebra: indices, surds, rationalisation, algebraic fractions
    • Coordinate Geometry: quadratic graphs, cubics, reciprocals
    • Transformations: stretches, translations of graphs
  • Summer Term
    For all sets the syllabus will be finished by now and time is spent revising for public exams. Each set will have past paper practice. This involves a paper per week, which can be found on Fronter. These will be handed in on a weekly basis. If students have any difficulties, help can be found in the Maths office.


Skills and Commitment

The Mathematics Department aims to encourage pupils to develop good working habits as early as possible in the course. Every encouragement is given to assist the pupils with their problems. Greater emphasis is made on - non use of the calculator to perform calculations. Pupils need to be proactive if they have problems with the work. The mathematics department is available every lunchtime for help.


Progression and Complementary Studies

Mathematics is one of the core subjects. Skills taught arise in many other subjects, e.g. physics, chemistry, geography etc. Success and good working habits can only help to enhance these subjects. Many pupils each year progress to take A-Level mathematics in the Sixth Form.