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Department Overview

The Mathematics Department is staffed by a dedicated team of enthusiastic and fully qualified Maths teachers who bring a diverse range of skills and abilities to the teaching and learning of Mathematics at Horbury Academy.

Our vision ‘progress for all’ ties in with the Academy vision of ‘flying high but not solo’.  We work hard to engage students in Mathematics and encourage them to be actively involved in their learning to ensure no child is left behind but is instead stretched and challenged to maximise progress and attainment.

The importance of Mathematics is unquestionable - it plays a key role in helping students develop skills for use in other subjects as well as the necessary skills they will use in everyday life.  It is our aim to develop confident and resilient problem solvers by creating a safe environment where mistakes are welcomed, questions are investigated and creativity and intrigue is encouraged.  By nurturing students and helping them to develop a growth mind-set towards learning we are hoping to challenge some of the negative stigma attached to Mathematics and ultimately generate an atmosphere of enjoyment and pride.

For all year groups we have set pupils with peers of a similar ability as it allows teachers to support and stretch when necessary and to deliver lessons at an appropriate level of challenge.  Furthermore because Mathematics is tiered entry we can focus teaching towards the higher tier or foundation tier which wouldn’t be possible with mixed ability.  We are however very flexible with sets because one size rarely fits all when it comes to Mathematics and we often use a range of assessment measures to ensure students are placed in the most appropriate set at that point in their learning journey. 

Students in years 7 to 10 receive four one-hour lessons of Mathematics each week and our Y11 students have five one-hour lessons each week. All students are welcome to attend Mathematics Club on Tuesdays after school should they require any additional support with their learning or want to challenge their thinking even further. In year 10 our most able mathematicians have an opportunity to study for a 2 year Additional Maths qualification and in year 11 we run a Statistics GCSE as well.


We try to take part in as much extra-curricular and Mathematical activities as possible because we are extremely passionate about our subject and recognise that competition is healthy and the social/fun side of Mathematics isn’t always promoted.  We enter approximately 30 students from each year group (7-10) in the UKMT Challenge (United Kingdom Mathematics Team) and often attain some very successful results in line with very able Mathematicians across the country.  We take part in global maths week which is a movement to promote Mathematics teaching all over the world.  Horbury Academy often hosts the ‘Maths Feast’ for some of the most able year 10 Mathematicians across the Yorkshire region and we are very proud to be hosting it again this academic year.  Year 7 take part in the numeracy board game challenge where the Academies’ winning team get to present their idea at the National Coal Mining museum to have their game made into a reality.  We are also hoping to get involved with the Maths in Art project run by the award winning Hepworth art gallery in Wakefield.  As a team we try to engage with as many enriching Mathematical activities as possible both within and outside of lessons and believe this is why our students enjoy their learning at Horbury Academy.

Curriculum Leader: Miss A Craig

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 to 8

"Nothing is taught unless it is LEARNED"

At Key Stage 3 we have adopted a mastery approach to teaching and learning, which is an internationally recognised and highly effective approach towards Mathematics teaching.  It supports our vision of ‘progress for all’ by ensuring students have a deeper understanding of Mathematics and are appropriately stretched and challenged irrespective of their starting point/prior attainment.  Mathematics Mastery allows us to support pupils who may have some barriers to learning by improving their concrete understanding of mathematics through the use of manipulatives and clear coaching strategies.  It also enables us to really stretch students by asking them to justify their reasoning when solving complex and abstract problems and by encouraging them to make links between all areas of Mathematics when applying skills.

Another reason for implementing a Mastery approach is to better prepare our students for the increased difficulty of the new Mathematics curriculum and to make sure that our teaching at KS3 reflects the change in content of the GCSE’s by exposing students to complex problems and developing their numerical reasoning as soon as possible before it’s too late.

Pupils are assessed approximately once per half term to measure the progress throughout that time period and help us identify which areas students still need to improve on.  In order to tailor teaching appropriately and maximise progress students are given a diagnostic test at the start of the half term, the results of which are then used to plan subsequent lessons. Within each unit of work their progress is tracked against key objectives and intervention is provided where needed. A variety of activities and rich tasks are utilised to help students engage with the new content and the greater emphasis on problem solving and reasoning skills.


Key Stage 4 - Years 9 to 11

We deliver the OCR GCSE Mathematics course, Qualification Accreditation Number: 601/4606/0.

We (in addition to the rest of the Academy) use the mantra of Diagnosis, Therapy and Testing (DTT) to enable our teachers to plan appropriately and our students to master and retain their skills within Mathematics.   We have a clear strategy within Mathematics and all our students receive the same ‘diet’ of work – we believe in regular low stakes but high impact testing because repetition is key and without consistent testing and re-testing our students won’t receive the necessary feedback that is required to make progress. The units on our curriculum plans vary in length between 2 and 4 weeks and after each assessment students are given the opportunity to improve upon their targets to really maximise progression.  Pupils will not be able to move on or take responsibility for their learning unless they are aware of how to do that and this strategy provides them with a personalised learning checklist (PLC) after every assessment and essentially a direction to follow.

Mathematics is tiered entry meaning students can sit examinations at foundation or higher level. Our aim is to ensure that all students achieve the best possible grade and one that will be useful to them in the future.  We try to balance aspirations with realism and because pupils can achieve a grade 5 on foundation tier (which as a legacy grade equates to a high C / low B) we would much rather students feel confident in an exam than feel unprepared and anxious and potentially drop off the end because some of the content from A-Level Mathematics has now come down to the higher tier and it’s essentially had a domino effect resulting in everything seeming more difficult.  Therefore we now have a larger proportion of students sitting foundation than we used to and this is reflective of what is happening across the country and nothing to be concerned about.

The schemes of work mirror the percentage of content in the exams.  For higher the focus is on Algebra and Proportional Relationships as these make up 50% of the papers whereas half of the foundation questions are assessing Number and Ratio skills so we spend a lot more time on these topics with foundation students.


How the Mathematics department actively promotes British values

Rule of Law: Within maths there are opportunities to study areas where numerical data is part of the rule of law. Examples to teach different aspects of maths can come directly from statistics used in law. This might include taxation or calculations which need to be made to make sure that industry complies with Health and Safety legislation. Statistics can also be used to identify the impact of legislative change.  This could include use of national statistics to identify strong, weak and negative correlations.

Democracy: Maths and the use of data have a significant role in the democratic decision making and influencing change. Students will hear statistics quoted to justify and argue for particular positions. The development of critical thinking skills using maths will help develop student resilience to being exploited by extremists.

Individual liberty: Students might explore the extent of individual liberty bearing in mind legal constraints which are numerical in nature e.g. speed limits; levels of alcohol in the blood when driving; taxation levels. Students will discuss choices in terms of future education choices and careers.

Tolerance and mutual respect: Good working relationships in the classroom and around the Academy which promote effective learning.

Challenging extremism: Maths can be used to challenge extremism in particular through the use of statistics. This might include use of government migration figures to challenge inaccurate claims made about immigration levels in the UK.


Useful links

Knowing multiplication tables is key, as without them students' calculations are limited, along with the time they have in exams. There are a number of online learning platforms that help students practise their times tables  - we recommended regular short sharp bursts of practise to improve numeracy skills.


Maths chase