Mathematics and Further Mathematics

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Studying mathematics is compulsory for all pupils to the end of Year 11. Grounding in the basic skills of numerate reasoning, statistical awareness and the application of deductive logic to problem solving are minimal requirements for constructive engagement in democracy. The pupil who excels in these areas is well-equipped to become a critical citizen. All pupils begin the Edexcel IGCSE course in Years 9-11, aiming at the Higher level of entry. The IGCSE is considered by universities as an equivalent qualification to the GCSE. All pupils sit the examination at the end of Year 11, at the higher tier of entry. The most advanced students will also sit an additional examination in Mathematics which is currently the AQA Level 2 Further Mathematics qualification. The lower sets will focus entirely on the IGCSE. All examinations are taken at the end of Year 11.

Employers and further educational institutions expect a pass grade in Mathematics at the age of 16 in all but a very few cases. Most pupils at The John Lyon School achieve A or A* grade, thus preparing them well for their further study and the working world beyond. With more and more students attaining these high grades, it is crucial that a solid understanding of Mathematics is achieved at this stage. Those pupils who take on the additional GCSE further boost their chances of achieving high grades.

Throughout the Mathematics course, students are expected to extend their powers of reasoning and insight in abstract frameworks; application to real world problems may be relevant and exploited in order to make sense of the new mathematical structures and methods that are met. Achievement in mathematics is seen by many employers as a mark of diligence, insight and intellect. Students who have achieved at GCSE Level can expect to find their skills valued and useful throughout their working life, whether or not they continue with Mathematics in school.

Many pupils at The John Lyon School continue with Mathematics beyond IGCSE, and standards are high. Research by the Centre for Economic Performance at The London School of Economics found that “individuals with a mathematics A-Level earn 7-10% more than otherwise similarly educated workers without this qualification.” Throughout the A-Level course, students further develop their skills in algebra, trigonometry and calculus; key components in the languages of science, medicine and finance. Work in the applied modules of Statistics and Mechanics broadens the application of these skills to physical and social contexts, whilst extending the students’ use of axiomatic principles in reasoning.

The most able mathematicians undertake the Further Mathematics A-Level. This course challenges a large proportion of our students to explore advanced mathematical structures in depth, attaining the deepest possible understanding of the subject, and how to succeed in it as an intellectual discipline. The standards of rigour and refinement expected of the Further Mathematician instil the highest respect of precise argument, well-reasoned conclusions and concise expression.