Academic

Teaching Departments

Mathematics

Monmouth School for Girls mathsFascinating in its own right, Mathematics is a vital skill which helps not just with other subjects in the curriculum, but also with many aspects of adult life. Our obvious aim is to enable girls to attain their maximum potential in exams. But we also want to develop the pupils’ oral, written and practical skills to help boost their confidence. We encourage students to apply their mathematical skills in a wide variety of situations – practical or theoretical, related to everyday life or other subjects. With us, girls should develop the invaluable ability to select suitable mathematical techniques to solve problems.

Years 7-9

Girls enter the main school with different levels of mathematical skills and different amounts of mathematical knowledge. The aim in Year 7 is to ensure that all students have a firm grounding in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, measures, statistics and probability. In Year 8 we continue to build on these areas, and in Year 9 we introduce trigonometry. The girls are taught in sets of different sizes depending on their ability and the speed at which they work. All sets in Years 7 to 9 follow the same programme of work, but extension work is provided for the pupils in higher sets. The year groups are reset at the end of years 7, 8 and 9.

IGCSE

Girls sit the Edexcel IGCSE in Mathematics (specification 4MA1) at the end of Year 11.  This course has existed relatively unchanged for over fifteen years and provides an excellent preparation for further study in the subject as well as an accessible course for those students who find the subject challenging.  It covers the four main areas of number, algebra, geometry and statistics, but with more of a skew towards algebra compared to other GCSE courses.

All girls work towards the higher tier, which is targeted at grades 9-4 (but with a grade 3 the lowest possible).  Each year a number of girls will also sit the WJEC Additional Mathematics exam, which extends beyond the standard IGCSE course.  For the past two years all girls entered for Additional Mathematics have achieved a distinction.

A level Mathematics

Why study Mathematics?

Successful Sixth Form students of Mathematics will show a genuine interest in mathematical processes.  They will have the ability to cope with abstract ideas and the determination necessary to practise techniques and master concepts.  They will gain a real sense of achievement when worthwhile results to difficult problems are achieved.  

Mathematics is studied in the Sixth Form for many different reasons. Some study it because they enjoy the challenge of solving problems of a numerical or logical nature. Others choose Mathematics because it supports their work in other subjects such as science, Psychology or Economics and will continue to do so in a variety of further education courses ranging from Geography to Meteorology, Business to Law or Pharmacy to Medicine. Some students choose Mathematics because the skills it requires and develops are totally different from those in their other A level subjects.

The most important attributes to bring to the course are a previous enjoyment of, and success in, studying Mathematics, an ability to think and communicate logically and the determination to work at a problem until you have solved it.

Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth School for Boys follow the same specification.

Head of Department: Mr A Skailes


Course content

Board: Edexcel   A level Syllabus Code: 9MA0

  • Pure Maths (Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Exponentials & Logarithms, Sequences & Series, Numerical Methods, Proof)
  • Mechanics (Kinematics, Forces & Newton’s Laws, Moments)
  • Statistics (Sampling Techniques, Data Presentation, Probability, Statistical Distributions & Hypothesis Testing)

The content is split in a 2:1 ratio between Pure and Applied Mathematics


Method of assessment

Papers 1&2 – Pure Mathematics: 2 hours each.
100 marks (33.33% of A-level) for each paper.
Paper 1 and Paper 2 may contain questions on any topics from the pure mathematics content.

Paper 3 – Applied Mathematics (Mechanics & Statistics):  2 hours.
100 marks (33.33% of A-level)

A level Further Mathematics

Why study Further Mathematics?

This is a course for those who have a passion for the subject combined with a proven ability at GCSE level. Successful candidates usually have a very good grade at GCSE (or equivalent) and have often studied Maths beyond the taught GCSE course e.g. Additional Maths (although this is not necessary).

Further Mathematics is a course that is sometimes a requirement by some of the more prestigious universities for mathematics, physical science or engineering courses.

Those opting to study Further Mathematics would complete the whole single Mathematics A level course throughout Y12 and then move on to the Further Mathematics material in Y13.

Head of Department: Mr A Skailes


Course content

Board: Edexcel   A level Syllabus Code: 9FM0

Compulsory A level topics include:

  • Complex Numbers, Matrices, Polar Coordinates, Hyperbolic Functions, Differential Equations, Further Calculus
  • The Core Pure Mathematics makes up 50% of the course.

Optional A level modules are:

  • Mechanics, Statistics, Decision Maths, Additional Pure Maths

There are two modules for each of these.  We currently plan to follow the Mechanics and Statistics courses to give breadth to the topics studied, although the combination can be tailored to suit the aspirations of the group.


Method of assessment

Papers 1&2 – Core Pure Mathematics: 
1½ hours each;  75 marks (25% of A-level) for each paper

Papers 3&4 – Optional Units:
1½ hours each; 75 marks (25% of A-level) for each paper

Co-curricular

This year’s Eisteddfod competition for maths linked together two very powerful ideas in the subject: the geometry of solid shapes and prime numbers.  Both of these have existed in human culture for well over two thousand years, but still have much relevance to today’s society.  Very large prime numbers are used for internet encryption and some of the ideas that protect us online have links to the Riemann Hypothesis, one of the most famous as yet unproved ideas in maths.

The competition involved work on Euler’s Theorem in relation to the five Platonic solids (Tetrahedron, Cube, Octahedron, Dodecahedron and Icosahedron), as well as constructing the five solids using origami techniques.  Mather Jackson produced the best set of models, but the overall winner was the team from Imbert Terry, who scored well in all the tasks, particularly in their justification for the existence of only five Platonic solids.

The junior and senior maths clubs have continued this year.  Early in the year the juniors had a session led by Year 12 girls on origami, ahead of the launch of the after-school origami club.  They have also worked on preparing for the various UKMT maths challenge competitions through the year.

In the senior team challenge, the HMSG team was again very close to winning their regional round in Cardiff.  At the halfway point, they were ahead of the eventual winners, Atlantic College, but one weaker section under the pressure of the relay round resulted in a fourth place at the end. 

Individual challenges have given the opportunity to over 200 girls to compete in the national competitions, with over 100 gaining bronze, silver or gold certificates.  This year, amongst the eight qualifiers for follow-on rounds were Adele and Farren in Year 11, who both qualified for the Maclaurin Olympiad paper.  Both gained certificates of merit for their answers in this demanding two-hour paper.