GCSE Mathematics

Head of Department: Mrs H Fraser BSc PGCE (East Anglia)

Mathematics is one of the key subjects in the curriculum of ALL pupils and do not let anyone tell you differently!! At St Edmund’s we try to ensure that all pupils receive a thorough mathematical education, tailored to each pupil’s ability and sufficiently rigorous to enable them to realise their full potential but that most of all they enjoy their Mathematics’ lessons.

Past examination results and the popularity of the subject at A Level and beyond show that we are very successful in achieving our aim.

Facilities and Resources

The Mathematics’ Department has a suite of four specialised Mathematics’ rooms; these are recently constructed and provide a large and bright teaching environment where pupils’ work can be seen displayed throughout the year.

Classes have access to computing facilities linked to the network, which can be booked as the need arises for whole-class activities or individual work.

Extra-Curricular Mathematics

Students of all ages are invited annually to take part in the UK Schools ‘Mathematics’ Challenges. Many students each year gain awards at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels.

We also send a team of students from Year 8 and 9 to London to compete in the National UKMC Competition, Enterprising Mathematics. Here they can put all their newly-found mathematical skills to practical use and whether they win or lose, everybody gains something new from the experience and has a great time!


The following quotation from the National Curriculum gives an overview of the importance of mathematics.

“Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world.  These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways.  Mathematics is important in everyday life, many forms of employment, science and technology, medicine, the economy, the environment and development, and in public decision making.  Different cultures have contributed to the development and application of mathematics.  Today, the subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised.  Mathematics is a creative discipline.  It can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a pupil solves a problem for the first time, discovers a more elegant solution to that problem or suddenly sees hidden connections.”

GCSE Mathematics has changed and has become more demanding for everyone.

An overview of these changes are:

  • The volume of subject content has increased.
  • The demand of the content has increased too, with harder topics being introduced into both Higher and Foundation tiers.
  • The total time for the examinations has increased from 3.5 hours to 4.5 hours, so there will now be three papers taken at the end of the course. These papers will be equal in weighting with Paper 1 being non-calculator and Papers 2 and 3 being calculator papers, each paper is worth 80 marks. The content will be spread evenly throughout the three papers.
  • There are fewer marks available at the lower grades and more marks at the higher grades.
  • In the assessments, there is a greater emphasis on problem solving and mathematical reasoning, with more marks being allocated to these higher-order skills.
  • Fewer formulae are provided in examinations, thus requiring students to memorise formulae.

Within the New National Curriculum, the structure of the teaching of Mathematics is now broken down into six areas:

  1. Number
  2. Algebra
  3. Ratio, proportion and rates of change
  4. Geometry and measures
  5. Probability
  6. Statistics

“Together these changes are designed to help students emerge from GCSE Mathematics with a level of confidence and fluency that will provide a genuine foundation for the rest of their learning and working lives.”

In Grammar, Syntax and Poetry, students are prepared for the GCSE examination at either the Higher Level where the grades 4 to 9 will be available or at Foundation Level where the grades 1 to 5 will be available. As the new grade 5 is equivalent to the old C/B grades we have more students following the New Foundation course than previously.

The first sitting of the New GCSE Mathematics was in June 2017.