Core Mathematics

Level 3 Certificate

Mathematics is for everyone. It is essential that students are equipped with the right skills to reach their future destination, whatever that may be.

This course is for you if you want to continue your Mathematics beyond GCSE level, and are keen to develop your skills in context, not wanting to take a course which requires the deep understanding of algebra required for A Level Mathematics.

This course is designed for students who enjoy applying mathematics and are comfortable with number work and basic algebra. It is designed to broaden your mathematical knowledge, developing skills which support a range of other courses and devising strategies to solve problems where the method is not obvious.

Communication skills are important to evaluate the reasonableness of solutions, identifying assumptions and explaining results.

In particular, the course is highly suitable for students who are taking A Levels which rely on an understanding of mathematical techniques (Geography, Science, Economics, Accounting), and who wish to go on to study courses at university which require a level of Mathematics beyond GCSE such as Economics or Psychology.

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Course content

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Course Details

The Level 3 course is equivalent to half an A Level and lasts for 1 year. Students receive between 4 and 5 hours of tuition each week and additional work is done out of lesson, some of this using “MyMaths”, some is producing worked solutions to exam-type questions.

The course develops understanding of:

  • The Mathematics covered at GCSE Higher level
  • The practical applications of Mathematics to other areas

Logical problem solving

There are two 1½ hour written examinations at the end of the year, both equally weighted.  This course covers Maths for personal finance (taxation, interest, cost of credit, financial problems), representation and analysis of data, and modelling and estimation (including Fermi estimation which allows you to answer questions like “how many shoes are there in the world?”) It has a section based on analysis of maths in the media, which includes use of spreadsheets and tables.

How the course is delivered

Where possible each group is taught by one teacher.

Lessons include a variety of group, paired and individual work, resources you will draw on include text books, exam questions and jigsaw / domino / card matching activities and websites, using examples of data and scenarios from other level 3 subjects.

Support outside lessons is available, both informally and formally.  Regular “maths clinic” sessions are run during the college week and all of the department are available for support at lunchtime and at the end of the day.

Departmental Enrichment

The Maths Department offers a number of enrichment activities:

The Individual Senior Maths Challenge takes place in the autumn term.

The Team Challenge involves our students competing against other maths students both at a regional and national level.

The Advanced Extension Award is designed to challenge the top 10% of students and is offered to all students excelling in their A level Maths course.

We also run an engineering enrichment aimed at students who want to go on to careers using maths and physics, but are not certain what choice to make.  It is a series of external speakers talking about a variety of careers.  This includes a wide variety of talks, examples include; civil engineering; financial mathematical modelling; operating a production plant; designing and testing artificial body tissues.
We also take a group of students to the Maths Enrichment talks in Leeds each year. These are always very popular and include topics such as “the maths of juggling”, “musical maths”, and “the maths behind the dam busters”.

What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

Students who have taken GCSE Maths early may find they need to review what they have learnt at GCSE through the summer, maths skills need to be kept in use.  Many Maths students enjoy extending their knowledge of maths and there are many ways of doing this including;

Use of websites such as
Reading books such as:

“Alex’s Adventures in Numberland” by Alex Bellos
“The music of primes” by Marcus DeSautoy
“Fermat’s Last Theorem” by Simon Singh
“A Mathematician’s Apology” by GH Hardy
“Littlewood’s Miscellany” edited by Bells Bollobas
“The Man Who Loved Only Numbers” by Paul Hoffman

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