Mathematics and Physics Faculty Policy

1. Overview
The Mathematics and Physics Faculty is committed to providing high quality teaching that allows students to achieve the best grades they can in all areas of the subjects they have chosen.

The aims of this policy are:
• to set out the hours allocated to each component of the Mathematics and Physics A-Level and GCSE options.
• to explain the options available to students.
• to outline the support available to students.
• to ensure that staff and students know what is expected of them within the faculty.

It should be noted that for academic year 2019/20 onwards, A-Level specifications taught at Ashbourne for Mathematics, Physics and Further Mathematics will follow the linear system. This means that marks awarded for AS examinations do not contribute to the final A-Level examination result.

2. Timetable and hours allocation

2.1 A-Level Mathematics (Edexcel)
Students studying A-Level Mathematics at Ashbourne will complete the 2017 linear specification (9MA0).

Students joining Ashbourne on a two-year A-Level programme who take Mathematics (8MA0) will sit an AS examination at the end of Year 12. The AS Mathematics specification consists of Pure Mathematics (62.5%) and Applied Mathematics (37.5% – divided equally between Statistics and Mechanics). This amounts to half the content of the full A-Level. However, those students taking Further Mathematics follow a different programme structure (refer to the Further Mathematics section below).

In Year 13 students complete the second half of the A-Level and will sit examinations (9MA0) at the end of Year 13 which will cover all of the material from both Year 12 and 13. The A-Level specification consists of Pure Mathematics (67%) and Applied (33% – divided equally between Statistics and Mechanics).

Students joining the 18-month programme (January start date) will also complete the AS Mathematics specification and take the AS examination at the end of Year 12. This course of study is an intensive option and students are expected to complete a significant amount of independent learning and practice outside of lessons. In Year 13 they will follow the same programme as two-year A-Level students.

Students enrolling on the one-year programme will join the second year of the two-year programme. Due to the structure of the course, they will not sit the AS examination. This is an intensive course and students are expected to complete a significant amount of independent learning and practice in order to keep up with the course structure. All one-year candidates will be expected to have the ability to access the second year of A-Level material from the commencement of the programme and are likely to require individual tuition to support their learning.

Two-year programme

Year 12 6 hours per week Pure (4 hours) + Applied (2 hours)
Year 13 6 hours per week Pure (4 hours) + Applied (2 hours)

18-month programme

Year 12 8 hours per week Pure (4 hours) + Applied (4 hours)
Year 13 6 hours per week Pure (4 hours) + Applied (2 hours)

One-year programme

Year 13 8 hours per week Pure (4 hours) + Applied (2 hours) + General Support (2 hours)

2.2 A-Level Further Mathematics (Edexcel)
Students studying A-Level Further Mathematics at Ashbourne will follow the 2017 linear specification (9FM0).

To navigate this programme successfully we expect candidates to have completed the A-Level Mathematics specification prior to commencement. Therefore, students on a two-year programme will complete A-Level Mathematics in year 12 and Further Mathematics in year 13. These students will join year 13 A-Level Mathematics classes during year 12. There is also an additional Further Mathematics preparation class in Year 12 to introduce students to some of the advanced topics in the Further Mathematics specification; this class also consolidates students’ learning of A-Level Mathematics.

In Year 13 Ashbourne students will take their Further Mathematics examination (9FM0), which consists of four exam papers; each papers covers 25% of the A-Level specification. At Ashbourne, students will take three compulsory papers:  Core Pure Mathematics 1, Core Pure Mathematics 2, Further Pure Mathematics 1. Students will then take an applied option and they have a choice between Further Statistics 1 or Further Mechanics 1.

Two-year programme

Year 12 2 hours per week Further Mathematics Preparation (2 hours)
Year 13 8 hours per week Core Pure (4 hours) + Further Pure (2 hours) + Applied (2 hours)

18-month programme

Year 12 2 hours per week Further Mathematics Preparation (2 hours)
Year 13 8 hours per week Core Pure (4 hours) + Further Pure (2 hours) + Applied (2 hours)

One-year programme

Year 13 8 hours per week Core Pure (4 hours) + Further Pure (2 hours) + Applied (2 hours)

As a general rule, students who are more suited to Physics are likely to find Further Mechanics easier than Statistics and students that are more suited to Finance/Economics are more likely to find Further Statistics easier than Mechanics.

Other options may be offered on a case-by-case basis subject to scheduling availability and at the discretion of the Head of Faculty.

2.3 A-Level Physics (AQA)
Students studying A-Level Physics at Ashbourne will follow the 2015 linear specification (7408).

Students joining Ashbourne on a two-year A-Level programme who take Physics will sit an AS Physics (7407) at the end of Year 12. This amounts to the first half content of the full A-Level.

In Year 13 students complete the second half of the A-Level and will sit examinations (7408) at the end of year 13 which will cover all of the material from both Year 12 and 13.

Students joining the 18-month programme will usually start in January, and will also complete an AS Physics examination at the end of year 12. This is an intensive course and students are expected to complete a significant amount of independent learning and practice in order to keep up with the course structure. In Year 13 they will follow the same programme as two-year students.

Students joining the one-year programme will join the second year of the two-year programme and receive an additional four hours of tuition to help review AS material from year 12. Due to the structure of the course they will not sit the AS examination. This is an intensive course and students are expected to complete a significant amount of independent learning outside of lessons.

All students are required to complete 12 compulsory practicals to satisfy the practical endorsement. Six of these are undertaken in Year 12 and the remaining six in Year 13, except for one-year programme students who will undertake all practicals in one year; the year 12 support class for these students will be used to ensure that these practicals take place. 

Two-year programme

Year 12 6 hours per week
Year 13 6 hours per week

18-month programme

Year 12 8 hours per week
Year 13 6 hours per week

One-year programme

Year 13 6 hours per week in Year 13 classes, and 4 hours per week to cover Year 12 material.

2.4. GCSE Mathematics (Edexcel)
Students studying GCSE Mathematics at Ashbourne will follow the 2015 (9-1) specification (1MA1).

One-year GCSE:

Year 11 4 hours per week

All teachers involved with GCSE teaching also teach A-Level. This gives any student wanting to move onto A-Level Mathematics a distinct advantage, as teachers are able to highlight and emphasise material that is built upon in the A-Level syllabus.

2.5. IGCSE Science (Double Award – IGCSE Edexcel)
IGCSE Science follows the 2017 (9-1) specification (4SD0). This is divided equally between Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

One-year IGCSE:

Year 11 8 hours per week

All teachers involved with IGCSE teaching are also A-Level teachers. This gives any student wanting to move onto A-Level Science a distinct advantage, as teachers will be able to highlight and emphasise material which underpins and overlaps with the A-Level syllabus.

3. Homework and mocks
Weekly prep is set by each class teacher to continue the learning process outside of the classroom.

Half-Termly mocks are prepared to exam standard and serve to consolidate knowledge and develop revision and exam technique.

The results of these mocks are communicated with written reports, which are produced four times per year. Reports also offer an opportunity to reflect on how students have performed to date and whether they are on track for their target grade. Teachers will provide students with feedback about areas to improve their performance.

4. Easter Revision
All students are encouraged to attend Easter Revision courses at Ashbourne. They can attend one course for free, and any others at a discounted rate. Each student attending receives an Easter Revision pack full of examination questions to work through. It is an ideal opportunity to revise and practise past examination papers, which results in developing good revision techniques in the run up to the summer examinations.

5. Summer preparation and revision programme
During the summer preceding Year 13, all students are sent work to complete, to review expected knowledge and to prepare for the forthcoming academic year. It is vital that this work is produced.

The Faculty will review students’ performance in the HT4 mock examinations that take place in March. Based on students’ progress over the course, some will need to join the Summer Revision Programme (SRP) for Mathematics and Physics to help with their transition into Year 13.

The SRP will consist of regular work to be completed between the beginning of June and the end of August. It will include revision and exam question packs covering material from Year 12 with the aim of building knowledge and improving confidence. The SRP concludes with a summative test at the end of August to check progress.

As part of this, students will be asked to attend College during June and the second half of August where they will meet teachers on a regular basis to review learning and go over completed work. If students are unable to attend during this time frame they will still need to complete the work remotely.

Ashbourne students need to gain CCC for the Year 12 end of year examinations to gain entry into Year 13. If they are unable to achieve this they will have to attend a re-entry meeting in August. (Please read the Entry into Year 13 for Existing Students Policy for further details.) During this meeting a number of different factors will be considered to deem students’ suitability for entry into Year 13 and this will include their participation in the SRP and performance in the summative SRP test at the end of August.

6. Student support

6.1. Mentoring
Mentoring sessions are arranged for any student who finds the material covered particularly challenging. Class teachers normally identify these students, but students can also request this themselves. We pair these students with one of our more able students, facilitating peer-to-peer learning in an organised way. These pairs of students will typically meet weekly to go through any topic highlighted by the class teacher and/or the student themselves. Not only does this allow less able students to benefit from peer-to-peer learning, but mentors are able to benefit from revision in the process; this can also be used for their university application.

6.2. Support clinics
During the academic year students who require extra support will be encouraged to attend either a Mathematics or Physics clinic. These weekly sessions will reinforce the basics and review weekly content.

6.3. Individual tuition
For some students individual tuition may be requested, or suggested by their teacher, in order to support their learning in Mathematics and Physics. These sessions can be used to reinforce weekly content and address individual issues raised by the student to help solidify their learning of the subject.

7. Student expectations
Students must adhere to the rules and expectations set out within Ashbourne’s Student Behaviour and Attendance Policy, which includes the following key rules:

  1. Attend all classes on time
  2. Submit all homework, coursework, mocks and assignments to the best of the student’s ability and on time
  3. Show commitment to their studies inside and outside of the classroom – actively engage during lessons, and work in a manner that does not disrupt the class.
  4. Respect fellow students and members of staff
  5. To respect our need for security, and to comply with our Safeguarding Policy, by wearing a lanyard and ID at all times on College premises.

In addition, for students who take subjects within the Mathematics and Physics Faculty, homework not completed to a minimum standard will have to be resubmitted as directed by the teacher.

8. Teacher expectations
Teachers must adhere to the rules and expectations set out within Ashbourne’s Staff Code of Conduct Policy.

Within the Mathematics and Physics Faculty there are also the following expectations:

  1. Students must be set at least one piece of homework per week, per class, to revise theory and practise methods and techniques covered in class. The prep is then assessed and returned to the student within one week of it being submitted.
  2. Mock examinations should include past paper questions from a variety of sources, and should not merely involve the setting of a previous examination paper.
  3. Concerns about student performance must be immediately communicated to the Assistant Heads of Faculty (Imran Shah and Sean Pillai). 
  4. All specification must be completed by Easter. In the case where the subject teacher notes that this is likely to be a problem, this must be communicated well in advance to the Assistant Heads of Faculty (Imran Shah and Sean Pillai).
  5. Contributions must be made to update Easter Revision course materials.
  6. Contributions must be made to update Schemes of Work.
  7. The FileMaker database should be updated on a weekly basis to allow Personal Tutors and Heads of Faculty to track progress.
  8. Before the summer break, all Year 12 students must be set homework to complete over the summer to prepare themselves more readily for Year 13. 
  9. On occasion Year 12 examinations are completed before the end of term. In this circumstance, subject teachers are expected to continue teaching the student until the end of the year. As summer work is set (see point h), teachers should use these classes to go through this work and start to prepare students for Year 13. If there are any queries about this, teachers should speak to either of the Deputy Heads of Faculty.
Authorised by The Principal
Date July 2019
Effective date of the policy July 2019
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2020