Department | Mathematics2021-01-20T13:25:19+00:00

Department | Mathematics



Mr. S. Cardwell
Head of Department
Mr. K. Hooks
Mr. D Cunningham
Mrs. S. Welshman
Mr. N. McConnell
Mr. P. McClure
Miss R. Mullan

Subject Information

Mathematics is everywhere.  At RSA we aim to encourage our students to achieve their potential by providing a stimulating and supportive atmosphere which allows the learning process to be both challenging and enjoyable. We also aim to instil students with the confidence to use the language of Mathematics to communicate complex ideas clearly and logically, with a focus on problem solving.


  • Students develop an enjoyment of and interest in Mathematics.

  • Students are supported and/or challenged to maximise their potential.

  • Students achieve the highest possible suitable qualification.

  • Students gain an understanding of Mathematics’ role in the ‘real’ world, careers and Further Education.

Everyone in Year 8-12 studies Mathematics.

Key Stage 3

Mathematics at Key Stage 3 is delivered over five lessons per week covering topics in Number, Algebra, Shape Space Measure and Data Handling. The curriculum aims to develop and equip pupils with appropriate mathematical skills in a wide range of areas and to enable them to use ICT as an effective statistical analytical tool. Pupils at the end of year 10 sit examinations which determine their class placement in Key Stage 4 (M3/M4, M7/M8 and/or Further Mathematics)


All pupils study Mathematics to Higher Level in the new two tier CCEA specification with a majority of students aiming for the A* – B grade boundary. All pupils sit a modular exam at the end of Year 11 (M3/M4). In January of Year 12 pupils have the opportunity to resit (if required) with all pupils sitting their final paper (M7/M8) in the June session. The full ccea Mathematics Specification can be found via the link below.

In Years 11 and 12 approximately 40% of the pupils’ study both the CCEA GCSE and the GCSE Further Mathematics syllabuses. The Further Mathematics specification can be found via the link below. A number of pupils who excel in Year 11 Further Mathematics have the opportunity to sit a further GCSE in Statistics.


Mathematics is a very popular choice at AS and A2 level with approximately 40 –50 pupils opting to study this course. It is strongly recommended that pupils have completed the GCSE Further Mathematics course before continuing to AS level. Again, students follow the CCEA specification as found below.

GCE Further Mathematics is available is there is sufficient demand, but this cannot be guaranteed.


GCSE Mathematics

M3/M4 Higher

External Written Examination – 2 hours


Year 12

M7/M8 Higher Completion Test

Two external written examinations

Paper 1 without calculator – 1 hour 15 mins

Paper 2 with calculator – 1 hour 15 mins


GCSE Further Mathematics

Unit 1 Pure

External written examination – 2 hours


Unit 2 Mechanics

External written examination – 1 hour


Unit 3 Statistics

External written examination – 1 hour


AS – Level

AS 1: Pure

External written examination – 1 hour 45 mins

60% of AS

24% of A Level

AS 2: Applied

External written examination – 1 hour 15 mins

40% of AS

16% of A level

A2 – Level

A2 1: Pure

External written examination – 2 hours 30 mins

36% of A Level

A2 2: Applied

External written examination – 1 hour 30 mins

24% of a Level



As well as the help of the teachers. There are a number of opportunities for further support within school. The two most commonly successful avenues for support are

Peer Tutoring – this is a one-to-one support network of Year 13 and 14 Mathematicians who volunteer to mentor a young pupil through Mathematics.

Maths Support Clinic – these are after school drop in sessions which offer one-to-one and group support from the staff within the department.

Every young person is an individual and we will always endeavour to meet the needs of learners.



Stretch and challenge is an important part of teaching within the Maths department. Open ended and effective questioning, along with innovative teaching methodologies ensures that all pupils are stretched to think outside the box. Away from class pupils have the opportunity to be involved with external challenges such as the UK Maths Challenge and UK Maths team challenge. Year 10 participate in a Challenge day which tests their knowledge beyond the taught curriculum. Year 13 and 14 students also participate in the QUB team challenge event in December.

There are opportunities for Maths trips and Careers events.  In recent years these have included but are not limited to trips to W5 and QUB.  Many careers talks have also been facilitated in areas of Finance, Accounting and Actuarial Science.  Mathematics lends itself to a wide variety of career opportunities.  Further information can be found via the link below.

  1. Carol Vorderman

Carol is very well know for her television career on Countdown, where she was able to pick apart the mathematical problems to find a solution. She studied engineering at the University of Cambridge but surprisingly she only graduated with a third-class honors degree. Before taking up her role on Countdown Carol undertook a position as a junior civil engineer at Dinorwig Power Station in Wales and then went onto working as a graduate management trainee in Leeds.

  1. Rachel Riley

Rachel is another well known television presenter from Countdown,after working in a multiple of different sectors. She studied at Oxford University, studying mathematics and graduating with a upper-second class honors degree. Originally Rachel took up an internship in finance at the Deutsche bank in London where she was put off by the experience. This lead her into being attracted to civil engineering where she considered taking up a postgraduate degree.

  1. Dara O’Briain

The first male to be included in our list, the well-loved Irish comedian. This may not have come as a surprise because he has quite prominently shown his intellect on the big screen. Using intelligence in his comedy and being the host of/regularly involved in “QI”, “ Have I Got News For You?” and “Dara O’Briain’s Science Club”, Dara studied Mathematics and theoretical Physics at the University College Dublin, he was also the co-founder and co-editor of the University observer college newspaper.

  1. Cindy Crawford

The 3rd successive female on our list! Not what you expected?! Cindy Crawford, the famous American model; being named as the highest paid model of the 1990’s by Forbes. Cindy Crawford didn’t complete her university degree but gained a scholarship to study Chemical Engineering (with Mathematics) at Northwestern University. In fact she only completed a quarter; but this was due to the fact she dropped out to fulfil her full time modelling career! Can you blame her?!

  1. Brian May

Maybe one of the more surprising celebrities to be on our list; the guitarist for possibly the most famous group to date, “Queen”. May has an education that most people would be jealous of. Whilst studying Physics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at ‘A’ Level, he went on to study mathematics and physics at Imperial College, London. What may come as a surprise, is that before becoming a huge hit with “Queen” Brian May was a mathematics teacher! He emphasises the importance of making maths enjoyable. “If you can improve the image of maths, it seems like a good scheme to me. I was lucky because my dad did it for me, he made it fun. If you can make it fun, you’re home and dry.”

  1. Michael Jordan

Often described as the greatest ever NBA player, Michael Jordan, perhaps more well known for his basketball ability, studied Mathematics until his junior year at college. With all college players having to pass Maths and English at college to play on the team, Jordan excelled in Mathematics and his enjoyment for the subject was reflected in his class choices. Lucky he was good with numbers, as Michael Jordan happened to be the highest paid earner and one of only 2 players ever (Kobe Bryant) to earn over $30 million in one year!!

  1. Glen Johnson

The former Liverpool and England full back, came as a surprise, Johnson in his down time from playing is studying for his Mathematics degree at the Open University. Johnson admitted that he was a good mathematician at school but football got in the way of him studying the subject further. With a sport that isn’t associated or known for players who have degrees, we think that it is great players spend their time wisely, especially when so many retired players have ended up bankrupt. A thirst for knowledge and a good understanding of numbers is an essential life skill that not too many footballers possess.

  1. Teri Hatcher

Of course Lois Lane would have a degree in Maths! (After all she is married to Superman!!) Also known for her roles more recently in Desperate Housewives, the American actress studied Mathematics and Engineering at De Anza College in Cupertino. Whilst quite bewildering to us, the actress was the daughter of a Nuclear Physicist and Electrical Engineer; so maybe it is less bizarre now that the actress started out as a maths whizz at school and college.

  1. Rowan Atkinson

Prior to starring in the Blackadder series, Rowan Atkinson believed his future lay in electrical engineering. He gained the highest marks at Newcastle University before going on to Oxford in 1975, where he studied for an MSc in electrical engineering. This is where Rowan met Richard Curtis who wrote the Blackadder series and is what shot in into the limelight. Who would have thought the Mr Bean would have a mathematical related degree.

  1. Jonny Buckland (Coldplay)

Jonny is known for being the lead guitarist of the rock band Coldplay. Originally living in London he then moved to Flintshire, Wales where he started his interest in playing a guitar During his education he had a keen interest in mathematics and eventually moved back to London, where he enrolled at the University of London. Here he studied astronomy and mathematics, while engrossed in his studies he met his future bandmates – Chris Mrtin, uy Berryman, Will Champion and formed Coldplay. Another interesting fact is each member of Coldplay have a degree in their chosen subject.

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