Faculty Leader – Maths
Mrs H Penman
Mathematics is the means of looking at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised. Numeracy is the means of making that knowledge useful.

Mathematics contributes to the school curriculum by developing students’ abilities to:
  • Calculate
  • Reason logically, algebraically and geometrically
  • Think creatively to solve problems
  • Handle data
  • Make decisions
  • Form links between other subjects such as Science, Geography, Technology and Music
The subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognized. Mathematics helps us to understand and change the world. For Notre Dame students mathematics is the inspirational partnership of Faith and Science.
  • To set challenging targets with high expectations for all students.
  • To offer a variety of approaches to teaching and learning to engage and motivate students and demand their active participation.
  • To smooth the transition for students between Key Stages and ensure progression in teaching and learning throughout their time at Notre Dame.
  • To explore enrichment opportunities outside the curriculum to enhance students’ enjoyment of mathematics.
  • At the end of her/his mathematical education in this school, each student will be able to:
  • Perform basic numeracy skills
  • Perform the basic mathematical skills needed in her/his chosen career or for entry to higher or further mathematical education
  • Understand the mathematics likely to be encountered in daily adult life
  • Reason clearly and logically, and to set out a rational argument
  • Identify patterns encountered in diverse situations and to extrapolate from these
  • Approach problems systematically, choosing appropriate techniques for their solution
  • Follow logical instructions clearly expressed
  • Experience satisfaction in and enjoyment of his/her mathematical achievements
  • Obtain any formal mathematical qualifications needed for her/his chosen career
  • Obtain her/his best possible results at KS3, KS4, AS/A Level & other Sixth Form courses
  • Acquire the logical abilities characteristic of a mathematician
Mathematics is a spiral curriculum; this means that part of all topics will be revisited each year throughout students’ school life. What a student covers may vary depending on which pathway she is on.

The following are key skills that we encourage parents to support their daughters in developing:

Year 7
  • Mental methods for addition, subtraction, division and multiplication
Year 8
  • Fraction, decimal percentage equivalents (these can be found in their planner)
Year 9
  • Written methods for addition, subtraction, division and multiplication with fractions and decimals Calculating area and perimeter for different objects
Year 10/11 Higher
  • Solving quadratic equations, calculating percentage increase, understanding index laws
Year 10/11 Foundation
  • Using Pythagoras, simplifying expressions, calculating a percentage and fraction of an amount

Lessons involve a wide range of activities to encourage students to think beyond the boundaries and discuss their ideas with others, such as:
  • Variety of different card sorts that challenge thinkers and help eradicate misconceptions
  • Quick fire starters that ensure students have the necessary knowledge to go further in their subject
  • Individual work to ensure students have the confidence to demonstrate their abilities in exams
Each topic in KS3 contains enrichment lessons where students cover set mathematical objectives in a contextual situation. For example, when studying sequence in Year 7 students could look at various streets in Plymouth and recognise patterns so they can make predictions for builders of a fictitious street. In Year 10 students covering standard form may calculate the volume of soil that was removed in order to create space for the channel tunnel.

To ensure a more personalised curriculum the following occurs:

  • Year 7 and 8 cover Key Stage 3
  • Year 9, 10, 11 cover KS4
  • Tier of entry in Year 11 will be based on results of the two Year 11 Maths mocks
  • All students are exposed to assessment in lessons, homework and more formal end of topic tests each half term. Some movement between sets may then occur following these assessments.
  • 1 hour end of topic test each half term
  • SATS style test at the end of Year 8.
  • Half term mini tests covering topics taught
  • Larger end of Year 9 test (2 x 1 hour papers)
  • Full GCSE Maths paper at the end of Year 10
  • 2 full sets of mock papers in November and March of Year 11
  • Terminal examination at the end of Year 11
  • Induction assessment after 2 weeks in Year 12 to ensure students are on the correct course
  • Assessment after every key topic taught
  • Mock exam in January and Summer of Year 12 and January of Year 13
  • Terminal examination at the end of Year 13

Practice Papers
Useful Links

Higher Tier topic list (with links to AQA website)
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Higher Paper 1
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Higher Paper 2
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Higher Paper 3
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Foundation Tier topic list (with links to AQA website)
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Foundation Paper 1
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Foundation Paper 2
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Foundation Paper 3
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More practice papers can be downloaded from the AQA website –

GCSE Mathematics topic lists (by grade)

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