Key Stage 3 groups follow a programme of study which is designed to prepare them for the GCSE course. There is an emphasis on good numerical skills, which are crucial to underpin all other work studied in the subject. Algebra, shape and data topics are taught. Many GCSE topics are introduced in Years 7 and 8, often to the level of the Key Stage 4 exams. Students who find the subject difficult are very well supported by specialist teaching in unusually small groups, but expectations of all students are high and we expect each pupil to work hard and achieve their full potential.
In Key Stage 4 we follow a linear course, with exams taken at the end of Year 11. Students continue to be set by ability, and prepared for either the Higher Level or Foundation Level exams as appropriate. Students are fully supported in their preparation for exams, with thorough revision built into our Year 11 schemes of work. There is no coursework in this subject, and the course is assessed via two exams, one of which allows the use of a calculator.
Alongside their GCSE studies, our most able Year 11 students study an Additional Maths course:
The Additional Mathematics course is a bridge between GCSE and A Level. It contains some of the most challenging GCSE content, equivalent to Grade A and A* questions, alongside Sixth Form topics that take students beyond what Year 11 pupils in most schools study.
The course comprises four areas of mathematics, each leading to an application:
- Algebra, leading to the binomial distribution.
- Co-ordinate geometry, leading to linear programming.
- Trigonometry, leading to three-dimensional trigonometry.
- Calculus, leading to kinematics.
Additional Maths in not a GCSE, but a ‘Free-Standing Mathematical Qualification’, or FSMQ. It is designated a ‘Level 3’ course, putting it in the same category as AS and A Level courses, and meaning that it earns UCAS points for university applications.
We have run this course for several years with our most able students. We have found it very successful in helping to ensure that they develop a deep understanding of the most challenging GCSE topics and enabling them to secure the top grades at GCSE. Students who have studied Additional Maths regularly get in touch with us to say how much easier they have found the transition to A Level as a result of their work in Year 11 and how glad they are to have this head-start for their Sixth Form studies.
The Head of Department is Alan Dickinson, who studied engineering at Cambridge before teaching in Keswick, Windermere and Lancaster. He is a GCSE examiner, giving insight into the skills needed for students to secure good marks in exams.
George King studied renewable energy engineering at the Camborne School of Mines before training to become a teacher through the SchoolDirect scheme. Prior to Settlebeck he taught in two schools in the Milton Keynes area.
Julie Calvert provides specialist intervention with Key Stage 3 students who find maths particularly challenging. With a very small group of students she is able to consolidate basic topics like time, fractions, and simple numeracy including tables. Julie has worked at Settlebeck for over fifteen years. Before that, she was a nurse.