Mathematics has a central role to play in any academic study. The skills developed through the study of Mathematics are not just relevant to studies of the Sciences, or Business Studies and Economics. It also helps to develop logical reasoning and methodical habits which are important to the study of any subject.
For some, the study of Mathematics will be a matter of developing skills and techniques they can take to their other studies. But for others the study of mathematics at school will begin a life long passion with a subject which offers absolute certainty.
Mathematics at its core is an exploration of the limits of the logic. Starting from a very small set of initial assumptions it is possible to derive all the mathematics currently known through the strict application of logic!
As a department it is our hope that our students will come to find some of the beauty and joy we find in the study of Mathematics for themselves.
At Taunton School we follow the Edexcel iGCSE course. We divide our pupils into sets by ability, with typically six sets in each year. All sets work towards the iGCSE Higher syllabus, although some pupils may be entered for the foundation tier examination if we and they think that this will give them a better chance of achieving a grade 5.
The iGCSE is an interesting and challenging course that suits our most able pupils, and provides excellent preparation for further study of mathematics in the Sixth Form whether studying A Levels or the IB. The iGCSE syllabus also has some advantages for the less mathematically inclined as it consists of two calculator papers meaning those students whose numerical skills are weaker are not disadvantaged. The highest possible grade is a 9 at higher tier. The top sets would be expected to study for Level 3 Edexcel Algebra in Year 10 which supports the iGCSE in Year 11. This course provides a stimulating introduction to post-iGCSE mathematics and is an excellent foretaste of higher mathematics.
The iGCSE course covers Algebra including equations, formulae and identities; Number including number systems, calculations and solving numerical problems; Shape & Space including geometry and vectors and Data Handling including statistics, with over half of the course being related to the study of algebra. Key additional topics in the iGCSE include the study of elementary Calculus, Set Theory and Functions.
The iGCSE course offers a course which is very highly regarded by universities and employers, whilst also being more accessible to those for whom English is not their first language.
The course is supported through the use of the Longman Edexcel Mathematics for iGCSE textbooks.
Many pupils go on to study Maths in the Sixth Form either as A Level Maths or Further Maths or IB Maths.