The two year GCSE course begins as pupils enter Y10. All pupils will be taught in preparation for Higher tier. From September 2015, all boys will follow the new Edexcel GCSE (9 - 1) specification. Full details may be viewed at: http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gcse/gcse15/maths/Pages/default.aspx. Assessment will be via three 90 minute papers, with the first one being non-calculator. A final decision on tier of entry will be made after the mock examination of year 11 but we fully anticipate that only one or two boys in any year group would be entered for Foundation tier. We are confident that the groundwork done in years 7, 8 and particularly 9 provides a solid foundation upon which to build at GCSE. The results achieved by Birkdale boys in Mathematics have always been outstanding and are a result of both their efforts and ours.
The teaching in the department remains imaginative and well focused. We believe strongly that Mathematics needs to be taught in relevant contexts wherever possible and that only by providing differentiated work can every pupil maximise their potential.
Our main resources are the SMP Interact textbooks written for GCSE. At the start of S4 each pupil will be issued with a pupil’s book and a corresponding practice book (mainly for homework). We continue to buy in suitable calculators and sell them on to our pupils at cost price; it is most important that each pupil becomes completely familiar with their calculator over the two year course. We also make use of the ICT resources via programs such as Excel, the dedicated Mathematics package Autograph and the Mymaths VLE.
Progress is carefully monitored during the two year course by regular setting and marking of homework as well as half termly tests which consist of GCSE questions relevant to the most recent work covered.
In year 11 the most able boys in set 1 (around 15 out of 24) have the opportunity to study for OCR Additional Mathematics (Full specification may be viewed at:
http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/free-standing-maths-qualification-fsmq-additional-mathematics-6993/ and then following the specification link). This provides the necessary push for our brightest pupils to maintain their interest in and motivation for Mathematics. Indeed many of these boys go on to take the challenging Further Mathematics A level. It also provides concrete evidence of something above and beyond the norm when completing a UCAS application for higher education.
During the final weeks before study leave, the pupils work almost exclusively on past GCSE papers in order to fine tune their examination technique and ensure they achieve their best possible grade.