Head of Department – Mr J. Barlow

At Holy Family our overriding belief is that maths is for life, not just sitting an exam in the summer of Year 11. Our aim is to produce pupils who enjoy and achieve within mathematics. We strive to develop pupils through building upon prior knowledge, addressing gaps in pupil understanding and being ambitious with all pupils to become ‘the best they can be’.

Maths is not about cramming for an exam – it lets you DO STUFF! Without mathematics we have no engineers, architects, computer programmers, airline pilots, astronauts, … the list is endless. We aim to embed maths throughout the whole curriculum, forging links between subjects so that students appreciate the importance and beauty of the subject.

We are ambitious for all pupils. We understand that pupils have different starting points, and our assessment process allows us to adapt to meet the differing needs of pupils.

At all key stages we follow the three strands of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning, and problem solving. We believe that fluency is key to all mathematical success, and so a great emphasis is placed upon this as the foundation upon which all else is built. We strive to develop reasoning skills – this often goes together with improving literacy so that pupils do not experience cognitive overload when reading and interpreting questions, and thus having little capacity to attempt the mathematical task at hand. By ensuring fundamental processes are thoroughly learned we are freeing up valuable ‘brain space’ for pupils to reason mathematically using their existing knowledge, and ultimately tackle problems that may at first appear beyond them.

Our aims are:

•           Improve spoken language and communication throughout insisting upon correct terminology and descriptions in class (whole school priority)

•           Improve literacy through focussing upon keywords and descriptions, as part of the whole school push to improve literacy for pupils.

•           Overcome ‘maths anxiety’ by ensuring the curriculum is ambitious for all whilst supportive enough to help learners develop a love of the subject through achieving success

•           Prepare students for their next steps – success at GCSE and beyond.

These key drivers guide our approach to everything we do

Key Stage 3

We operate a three-year Key Stage 3, which builds upon knowledge and skills developed at primary school and prepares pupils for the next stage of their education, GCSE Mathematics.

The timetable is a two-week split, with both Year 7 and Year 8 pupils having Mathematics seven times over the fortnight. Part of each lesson is spent carrying out some form of retrieval practice, usually consisting of ‘Numeracy Ninjas’ or ‘Flashback 4’.

Our curriculum at Key Stage 3 is based largely upon the White Rose scheme, which itself is based upon the principle that to learn mathematics effectively some things need to be learned before others.

“In our secondary curriculum, we start with algebra as this is key to the secondary curriculum as well as being comparatively new for pupils. Again, we carefully order the skills – understanding notation, one-step equations, then two-step equations etc., revisiting the concepts in other areas of the curriculum and making sure that topics are covered so pupils experience variety as well as consolidation.” White Rose Maths

This basic premise of certain fundamental skills and simple facts and mathematical truths being familiar to pupils is the basis upon which we operate. If the foundations are not strong then we cannot build a house! We have adapted and augmented the White Rose assessments to better suit the needs of our learners, introducing a keyword spelling question to aid literacy, an interleaved question to support recall, and a GCSE question to stretch and challenge the most able.

Each unit starts with a ‘What’s the point in learning…?’ sheet. This GREEN SHEET is at the start of each unit and makes clear to pupils WHY they are learning the topic, and HOW it plays a role in life outside the classroom. In class, the teacher will direct one or more pupils to read sections aloud as part of the whole school approach to reciprocal reading as an aid to improving literacy.

The units are linked to the White Rose scheme of work and ensure all elements of the National Curriculum are covered. At the end of each unit pupils complete a UNIT ASSESSMENT (see ASSESSMENT for further details).

A sample of pupil voice is taken each term to monitor pupil attitudes to learning and inform planning and development of the curriculum. This aids RESPONSIVE TEACHING as the results are discussed in department meetings and actions taken depending upon the views of teachers and pupils.

Maths - Key Stage 3 Curriculum Maps

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 follows a similar model to Key Stage 3, with the main difference being the decision for pupils to follow either the HIGHER or FOUNDATION GCSE course made at the end of Year 8. This is in no means final, and where pupils are consistently achieving higher or lower than their peers movement may take place. For the most part, based upon prior attainment and pupil targets, we find that pupils are placed on the correct pathway at this stage.

At Key Stage 4 we follow the Pearson scheme of work. This means that Foundation pupils study 20 units over three years, whilst Higher level pupils study 19 over the same period.

During the course, most of the procedures followed at Key Stage 3 still take place. Each unit starts with a GREEN ‘What’s the point in learning…’ sheet and ends with a YELLOW ‘Unit review’ sheet.

At the end of the course, assessment comprises three ninety-minute exams. Paper 1 is non-calculator, whilst papers 2 and 3 both require a calculator. We recommend purchasing a Casio scientific calculator – these are available for £10 from the school office or directly from the Maths department.


GCSE Foundation – Course overview

GCSE Higher – Course overview




Key Stage 5

Progression into Key Stage 5 is supported throughout the GCSE course – teachers of set 1 and 2 talk to pupils about the expectation that they will progress into post-16 study. The most able are exposed to A Level concepts early to stretch and challenge. Set 1 sit the GCSE Algebra Award in January of Year 11 – this is used to expose them to harder examination questions, develop their algebra skills and to assess suitability for A Level Mathematics.

At Key Stage 5 we offer A Level Mathematics and, when the demand is there, A Level Further Mathematics. The latter has most recently been delivered by staff at the University of Liverpool and the National Centre for Excellence.

A Level Maths is delivered by our most experienced members of the department across seven lessons a fortnight. At the end of Year 12 pupils sit the AS Level Mathematics examination. At this point a very small number of pupils may decide not to continue to study the full A2 course at Year 13; by sitting the AS level examination it means they are leaving with a qualification for their hard work.

The rest of the cohort go on to Year 13 where they continue their studies of Pure and Applied Mathematics.

At the end of the course, assessment comprises three two-hour exams. Paper 1 and Paper 2 cover the Pure course, whilst Paper 3 is Applied. Calculators are not only allowed but are essential for all three papers. Pupils following the course are required to purchase their own Casio ClassWiz fx-991EX. These are available from the Maths department for £20.

AS Pure Mathematics – content overview

AS Applied Mathematics – content overview

A2 Pure Mathematics – content overview

A2 Applied Mathematics – content overview


The Mathematics department enters the pupils in the national UK Mathematical Trust competitions as well as more local Mathematical Association competitions, both as individuals and in teams. There is also a puzzle club at lunchtime on Thursdays.

We are a member of the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme and are able to offer Further Maths as and when the demand is there in Y12 or Y13.

As well as the Tuesday after school Maths Clinic the Mathematics teachers regularly run after school and holiday intervention and revision sessions, particularly in the run up to the public exams so that our students can attain their full potential.

A number of students are invited to train as a Maths Coach in Y9 and perform this duty in Y10 and Y11. The opportunity provides these students with insight into how students learn, maths misconceptions, a better understanding of basic maths skills, proof of responsibility and improves communication skills and self-confidence. Potential Maths Coaches are chosen from various sets.


We have subscribed to the following websites to aid students independent learning and revision:


The above websites enable students to watch videos, see various examples and contain hints and tips if they are struggling. All students have unique login details for each of the above which enables them to access all the revision material and complete tasks set by their Mathematics Teacher.

Scientific calculators are required at GCSE so it is recommended pupils purchase one as soon as possible in order to familiarise themselves with the various functions available. The majority of our pupils use the Casio fx85 model which can be purchased within school.

Useful links

Entry Level syllabus:

GCSE syllabus:

 A-Level syllabus:


Students with a strong mathematical background are ideally placed to excel in a number of careers. The self-discipline and rigour required to tackle mathematical problems makes strong students extremely attractive to potential employers, and studies have shown that typically pupils with a ‘good’ pass at Mathematics A Level go on to earn around 11% more than their peers over the course of their career.


Employers in general are impressed with the skills good mathematicians possess, but for some jobs mathematical knowledge is essential. Some jobs in which mathematics is a vital component are:


  • Accountancy, banking and finance incl. Accounting, Actuaries, Investment Banking
  • Business, consulting and management incl. Auditing, Business Consultants
  • Data analysis
  • Energy and utilities
  • Engineering and manufacturing e.g. civil, structural, electrical, marine, aerospace, chemical, mechanical, biomedical, automotive, nuclear and environmental engineers
  • Environment and agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • Property and construction
  • Science and pharmaceuticals
  • Transport and logistics


In addition to these careers there are many maths related apprenticeships including


  • Payroll Administrator 
  • Actuarial technician Financial services administrator
  • Assistant Accountant Workplace Pensions (administrator or consultant) -
  • Financial Services professional Motor Finance Specialist 


Useful links