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Key Stage 3

KS3 Topics:

Students joining the school are placed into ability groups/sets according to KS2 results. Throughout their time at Dene Magna, we are committed to placing students alongside others with similar abilities and learning speeds, and therefore move students informally as necessary.

Students in KS3 learn foundational Maths topics such as Algebra, Number, Geometry, Statistics, Probability and Ratio/Proportion.  We follow a ‘mastery’ approach to learning, so classes are given as much time as needed to acquire a deep understanding of a topic rather than rush from topic to topic. This means that students will gain up to a GCSE level of understanding of topics even in year 7.

How many lessons per fortnight? 8

ILT information:

ILT is set once a week across KS3.  Examples of activities include consolidation questions, extension tasks and Maths Watch activities


Most classes have a test at least once if not twice per term. Tests cover topics that they have been taught and will require students to revise. At the end of each academic year, all students attempt a set of past GCSE papers in order to increase familiarity with question language, and to practice revision skills. All students will know their eventual year 11 target against which progress is measured.

Out of classroom opportunities:

Selected  students are  invited to participate in a National Maths Challenge either individually or as part of a team. In the past, Maths has organised trips to the London Science Museum and to various universities as students start to think about Further or Higher Education. We also run a weekly chess club which is popular with students of all ages.

Subject content that students will be taught in KS3 fall into the following categories:

  • Number
  • Algebra
  • Ratio, proportion and rates of change
  • Geometry and measures
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Key Stage 4

KS4 is designed to consolidate and extend knowledge and understanding of teaching at KS3, as well as introducing students to areas of mathematics not previously studied.

The expectation is that the majority of students will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress are always based on the security of students’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Students who grasp concepts rapidly are challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

All Year 9, 10 & 11 students study GCSE Mathematics at either Higher or Foundation Level, according to their level of ability.  Some students will also have the opportunity to study for the Entry Level Certificate in Mathematics. 

The GCSE course is designed to develop an understanding of key mathematical concepts in the following areas:

  • Number

  • Algebra

  • Ratio, proportion, and rates of change

  • Geometry and measures

  • Statistics

  • Probability


As well as retention of mathematical facts, the GCSE specification requires students to have skills in reasoning and problem solving and these are assessed specifically in the GCSE exam, at both foundation and higher tier.  

GCSE exams comprise three papers. Paper 1 is a non-calculator paper whilst papers 2 and 3 permit a calculator to be used. All papers are 90 minutes long and are worth 80 marks each. Grades achievable range from 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest). 


The mathematics curriculum at Dene Magna School aims to create learners who are competent in numeracy skills and ability to apply them across the wider curriculum.

It is designed to deepen students’ understanding of core mathematical principles through a mastery approach; which focuses learning on the ‘why’ of mathematics. The curriculum is ambitious and focuses on developing students in three strands of mathematical thinking – fluency, reasoning and problem-solving, the latter being the purpose of teaching for mastery – so that the key skills and processes learnt in the classroom can be applied to practical, real-world scenarios. The key stage 3 curriculum ensures students are prepared for formal study in KS4 GCSE Mathematics and of course, study at key stage 3 aims to prepare students to study mathematics in further education, whether that is re-taking GCSE to achieve a grade 4, level 3 core maths for those not ready to study A level mathematics or A level in mathematics or further mathematics.

Problem-solving is at the heart of mastering mathematics; the ultimate aim of learning mathematics for every student, whatever their home background or prior attainment. Every student can learn to solve complex problems in unfamiliar contexts.

Learners are taught the national curriculum for mathematics. The planning and sequencing of lessons follow a scheme of work from “Kangaroo Maths”.

The stage 7 to stage 11 schemes of work are based on the GCSE subject content and assessment objectives, broken down into a plan for Years 7 to 11, creating units of work that are named similarly across the stages.

Each unit of work is based around Key Learning Points – the fundamental basis of all related resources within the scheme of work.

For students entering Dene Magna below the ‘expected level’ at the end of Year 6, two secondary schemes of work are taught that are based on Years 5 and 6 of the primary national curriculum. Whilst all students will study the GCSE curriculum at an appropriate level, in year 11, some students will also be prepared for Entry Level Mathematics if their progress record indicates that taking this course is likely to be beneficial.

The word ‘stage’ is used to organise these pathways as it is the language used in the National Curriculum. It is expected that most learners will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace, but a movement to the next stage (topic, lesson, stage etc.) requires secure and deep understanding. Those who grasp the concept rapidly and demonstrate fluency are extended through the use of rich tasks that further develop problem-solving skills. Those who have not achieved the fluency required to progress are given intervention tasks (mainly in MathsWatch) to consolidate their understanding. Some students will receive 1:1 or small group support.

The links to the schemes of work are here: Schemes of work from Y7 to Y11 and to Y12/13 schemes of work, here: KS5 Schemes of Work


Delivered by a team of experienced and highly skilled teachers, each a specialist in mathematics with thorough subject knowledge and excellent subject pedagogy, the curriculum is designed to be both motivating and challenging for learners, setting high expectations for everyone. Mathematics teachers plan and teach well-structured lessons and adapt their teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all learners by providing focused support to learners who are not making the required progress. Teachers aim to create a culture that promotes a love of learning, engaging and adopting a variety of approaches to maximise the potential of every student and providing the support needed for this to happen.

At the classroom level, implementation of the mathematics and numeracy curriculum focuses on long-term learning. Over a two-week period, learners receive 8 hours of lessons, taught in 6 sets which are organised by ability using key stage 2 data. Targets for GCSE outcomes are set in year 7, based on the data from KS2 and CAT.

Effective implementation of the curriculum ensures students ‘know more, remember more and can do more’, linking curriculum content, lesson delivery and assessment.

The mathematics curriculum is designed, sequenced and delivered to allow learners to build on existing understanding, transfer key knowledge to long-term memory and master new skills. We do this by teaching excellent lessons based on an excellent scheme of work with a thorough understanding of topics that allow for the identification of common errors and misconceptions that further inform the lesson delivery. Formative assessment in lessons is a real strength, often aided by the use of mini-whiteboards. Learning objectives will be demonstrated in every lesson in the form of “WALTs” and success criteria as “WILFs”. Teachers refer regularly to these during the course of the lesson, allowing learners to follow the sequencing of the lesson.

A pre-cursor to good learning in the classroom is behaviour management. Teachers have excellent relationships with learners and establish clear routines with high expectations.

Resources are ample, ranging from exam board specific textbooks to a host of high-quality digital resources, most of which are on subscription but others freely available. At key stage 3 and 4, MathsWatch is the dominant resource providing students with remote access to topic-based videos for every aspect of mathematics to be learned from year 7 to year 11. Learners very much enjoy using ICT in mathematics and class sets of Chromebooks are used at regular intervals to allow them the opportunity to work independently in lessons, closing gaps in subject knowledge.

At KS5, Kerboodle delivers the digital textbook, chapter assessments or end of year assessments and videos to demonstrate key questions., an excellent free resource is the source of independent study support and revision for students and covers the entire A level curriculum. All resources are documented in the Department Handbook, together with website addresses and login/password details for the maths team.

Homework (independent learning tasks) comprise written worksheets or digital textbook tasks, or digital assignments set in MathsWatch. The latter provides instant feedback to students and allows them to persevere to a correct solution by providing hints and multiple attempts. This allows learners to develop resilience whilst practising skills taught in class. Teachers monitor the performance of learners in these tasks and provide feedback for individual questions at a personalised level. 


Formative assessment occurs in every lesson and the teacher provides feedback to learners verbally or in writing on how to improve. Learners are given the opportunity to act on that feedback either during the lesson, or as an intervention task in MathsWatch, or via a lesson starter in subsequent lessons. Teachers have freedom during the delivery of the scheme of work to “assess when ready” making accurate and productive use of low stake summative assessment. Judiciously and effectively employed, assessment can positively impact on learning and teaching and opportunities are given for learners to retake the test to improve further in their grasp of the content through regular retrieval and recall. Our assessments are intended as opportunities for students to demonstrate fluency in their knowledge and application of skills; and to allow them to revisit topics to embed their learning, creating a deep, and secure understanding of the mathematical concepts. That is, students, demonstrate mastery of the topic.

Regular retrieval practice is provided in the form of lesson starters that address gaps in progress from previous lessons or simply an opportunity to revisit a concept that provides a stepping-stone to further learning, in the current or future lesson.

Progress is recorded in a department mark book shared by all mathematics teachers.

External exams in year 11 and year 13 range from Entry Level, GCSE, Core Maths, A level Maths and Further Maths A level, depending on the start point and ability level of the learner. At key stage 4, learners are stretched to sit the higher tier exam whenever possible, allowing them to aspire to achieve grade 6, rather than the ceiling of grade 5 at the foundation tier.


 Click here for information on A-level Mathematics