To some, Mathematics is arithmetic and numbers. Others see it as a tool by which we can measure and quantify position and space. The Greeks developed logical reasoning largely in the field of geometry, from which derived the concept of proof. Mathematical models are successful in describing the world around us because Mathematics also gives us the power to generalise. In fact, the laws of Nature have been discovered with and are written in the language of Mathematics.
In 1609 Johannes Kepler, after years of research into the motion of the planets, discovered that the equation of an ellipse matched the observations beautifully. At the time it was believed that the planets travelled along perfectly circular paths. Kepler's discoveries led to the realisation that it is possible to uncover laws of Nature by merging observations with hypotheses. Mathematics was the key to his work and led him to deduce that a physical force, which becomes stronger the nearer a planet is to the Sun, lay behind the motions of the planets. Isaac Newton was later to identify that force as gravity. Before Kepler, the heavens were thought to be inhabited by gods and demons and that the planets were disembodied astrological influences. For two thousand years mankind regarded the natural world with fear and superstition, Kepler showed that Mathematics provided a 'blueprint' for creation. His work has led directly to our modern global civilisation and it is impossible to overstate the importance of the role Mathematics has played in shaping our view of the world
At Warminster School, we strive for every student to reach their potential in Mathematics. Maths isn't just about solving equations, performing tricky arithmetic or finding the probability of an event occurring, Maths is a key skill required in the modern world to solve problems. Our curriculum is built such that students are given the tools to become good problem solvers and good mathematicians. We pride ourselves on being able to differentiate our teaching with the able mathematicians stretched and enriched and those that require support given the necessary support that they require.
The Mathematics Department at Warminster School is a highly qualified and academic department with a buzz of enthusiasm about the subject where we encourage all students to develop their Mathematical curiosity and to enjoy all things Mathematical. It is not surprising that Mathematics is one of the most popular A Level choices at Warminster School.
The Mathematics Department is based in the Macdonald Building named after the former Headmaster Ian Pendlebury Macdonald. There are five classrooms all equipped with interactive whiteboards as well as numerous other resources. There is another Maths classroom based in the sixth form centre, again this is equipped with an interactive whiteboard. As well as our teaching rooms we have use of computer suites which are used extensively. All of the members of the department make use of MyMaths, The Further Maths Network, Active Maths and the Centre for Innovation in Teaching Mathematics to name a few.
We currently use the AQA board for our GCSE course and following the linear (8300) specification. Our A Level exam board is OCR (MEI) with students completing six modules for A Level Maths and a further six modules for A Level Further Maths.
There are numerous co-curricular activities offered in Mathematics.
We enter our able Mathematicians for the UKMT Maths Challenges, with Year 6, 7 and 8 taking the Junior Challenge, Year 9, 10 and 11 taking the Intermediate Challenge and Year 12 and 13 taking the Senior Challenge. Those students performing well nationally qualify for the follow on rounds, recently we have had students qualify for the British Maths Olympiad qualifier rounds. As well as the individual challenges we enter teams for the regional UKMT Team Challenges. The team challenge is prepared for during lunchtime practice sessions with the whole squad.
We have recently introduced a Cryptography Challenge run by the University of Manchester. Teams of students try to break the weekly cipher problems before submitting their solution. This proved to be a popular event with our Year 9, 10 and 11 students.
Over the past three years we have had numerous students attend the Wessex Maths Masterclasses run by the University of Bath. Students have looked at topics such as Fractals, Primes, Regular Polyhedra and Binary Numbers to name a few.
During the last few years we have had a number of students attend the SmallPeice Trust residential enrichment courses. The most recent course that was attended by four of our Year 9 students was at Exeter University looking at Robotic Engineering.
On a Monday afternoon we host an enrichment hour for local Primary Schools. Students visit the school weekly to work on problem solving and enrichment tasks with a member of the Maths Department and a number of our sixth form students.