Mathematics & Further Mathematics

IMG_6847Mathematics is one of the most popular choices of subject at A-level at St Edmund’s, and in addition is one of the most successful in terms of academic outcomes.

The school offers the opportunity to study Mathematics as a single subject at A-Level; more able students who wish to pursue the subject to greater depth may choose in addition to take Further Mathematics as a second A-level.

Mathematics as a subject to be studied at A-level is noticeably different from GCSE.  In the first place, the skills that GCSE builds have to be assumed as being mastered: an algebraic technique that was the sole focus of a GCSE problem now becomes simply the last few steps of the solution of a bigger, wider problem at A-level.

The A-level Mathematics student needs to have a strong level of basic mathematical competence; especially important is a real algebraic facility and confidence.  In addition, and ideally, this will be coupled with a genuinely inquiring mind that derives real pleasure from the solution of challenging problems.  No subject is more brutal if you cannot do it – there is no hiding from the fact that an incorrect argument will score zero – but equally, there is joy unequalled anywhere in the “eureka!” moment when a particularly challenging problem suddenly yields an elegant, perfect, maximum marks solution.  The A-level student needs tenacity, determination, commitment – and then the world of this subject of patterns and links, of wonderful geometry and dazzling symmetries, will be open to him or to her.

It needs hardly to be said that the possession of A-level Mathematics will open many doors in terms of progression.  It is a subject highly regarded both for the usefulness of the disciplines it imparts and as one which complements the study of so many other subjects which use its elements in a practical way.

Departmental aims Include:

  • Fostering a deep understanding and enjoyment of the subject
  • Developing understanding of the basic principles of both Pure and Applied Mathematics
  • Generating the skills of reasoning and logic, and the ability to produce mathematical writing with a clear structure
  • Developing basic technical skills that allow pupils to access “standard” problems; encouraging creative and imaginative thinking so that pupils can deal with non-standard situations
  • Maximising the mathematical achievement of every pupil

The department is justifiably proud of its success rates in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics.  Recent leavers have gone on to read Mathematics, Engineering or other closely-allied disciplines at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, Warwick and many other highly regarded and highly selective Universities.  The most able pupils can be prepared for STEP papers, or for the specific papers for Oxbridge entry.  Teachers are all experienced and highly qualified Mathematics graduates who use a variety of approaches that are responsive to the needs of learners.