Senior school > Curriculum > Mathematics

As a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) subject, the Mathematics Department is situated in the Dyson Building. A good qualification in Mathematics provides evidence of logical thought processes and the ability to cope with statistical and analytical skills. Each year three mathematics prizes are awarded on Speech Day.

This core subject is highly valued by most employers and is often required for entry to further and higher education. Our aim is for students to gain confidence in the subject by means of achieving success at the appropriate level of entry.

Increasingly, employers are looking for graduates with strong skills in reasoning and problem solving; just the skills that are developed in a mathematics and statistics degree. Those who go on to study Mathematics will find an extremely wide range of career choices open to them. Many will find their communication, presentation and interpretation skills in demand in non-scientific areas such as finance, marketing, management and law. A Mathematics degree is an excellent training in problem solving and this skill is highly prized across an enormous range of professions. Hence mathematicians readily find employment in a very wide variety of careers, including industry, commerce and civil service.

Mathematics provides an excellent basis for those who are studying Chemistry, Physics and indeed Economics at this level. Pupils wanting to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary science must achieve an A grade in Mathematics to be a viable candidate in these very competitive disciplines. Anyone who wants to study Science, Engineering, Economics, Accountancy or Mathematics at top universities is advised to study Further Mathematics, a course that provides a real challenge for those who are more gifted in the subject and leads to a deep exploration of more advanced topics.

It is considered a core A level subject for entry to university and a high grade in the subject is viewed very favourably for entry to University across many courses.


Board: Edexcel for IGCSE, AQA Further Mathematics GCSE.

Most pupils will follow the higher level IGCSE course. Pupils in lower sets will be entered for the foundation level paper. Higher level papers are designed for grades 9 to 4 and the foundation level paper for grades 5 and below. Roughly 14 of the 25 questions appear in both the higher and foundation examination papers. On the exam certificate there is no mention of the tier; only the grade achieved is stated.

The IGCSE specification is an academically challenging course and is assessed by two written exam papers.

Pupils who show ability in Mathematics will be placed in set 1. This set will cover the IGCSE syllabus by the end of Year 10 and will take the Further Mathematics examination at the end of Year 11 as well as the normal IGCSE. There will be no higher tier early entry.

Pupils in the lowest Year 10 set will be entered for the IGCSE at the end of Year 10 and may receive extra mathematics lessons as part of their timetable. Pupils taking the foundation tier early will be expected to progress to the higher tier or follow the functional skills programme.

All pupils are expected to continue studying Mathematics throughout Year 11.

Coursework: Nil


Entry requirements: as high a grade as possible at IGCSE, such as grade 8 or 9, possibly a 7

Mathematics is a versatile qualification, well respected by universities and employers alike. Pupils with a good Mathematics qualification from school, indicating good numeracy, problem solving and analytical skills are attractive to all employers be it in, for example, accounting, banking, business, economics, management, marketing, medicine, the military, politics, psychology or surveying. There is still a huge demand from science, engineering and manufacturing employers. Careers requiring good mathematical skills and qualifications are frequently well paid, interesting and rewarding.

The skills you learn in A level Mathematics are of great benefit in other A level subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computing, Geography, Psychology, Economics and Business Studies. A level Mathematics is an interesting and challenging course which extends the methods you have learnt at GCSE and is made up of ‘Applied Mathematics’ and ‘Core Mathematics’.

Applied Mathematics:

This is the mathematics that is used to describe or to solve ‘real-world’ situations and problems. within this section there are three main areas: Statistics, Mechanics and Decision Mathematics (Decision Mathematics is only available to Further Mathematicians).

Statistics – Collecting and analysing data and using this to make predictions about future events. Many subjects make use of statistical information and techniques. An understanding of probability and risk is important in careers including insurance, medicine, engineering and sciences.

Mechanics – Modelling and analysing the physical world around us, including the study of forces and motion. Mechanics is particularly useful to pupils studying physics and engineering.

Decision Mathematics – Using algorithms and other methods to find efficient solutions to real life problems, such as finding the shortest route between two points in a network. Decision is particularly useful for business, computing and economic careers.

Core Mathematics:

The easiest way to think of Core Mathematics is that it is mathematics done for its own sake, often referred to as Pure Mathematics. In fact, it is not that simple because even the most abstract mathematics will almost always have applications.


Three externally-examined papers which are taken in the Summer Term of Upper Sixth carrying equal weight for the overall grade:
Paper 1: Pure Mathematics 1 (Paper code 9MA0/01)
Paper 2: Pure Mathematics 2 (Paper code 9MA0/02)
Paper 3: Statistics and Mechanics (Paper code 9MA0/03)


Entry Requirements: Grade A*, 8 or 9. Additional Mathematics, or equivalent, is very desirable for pupils intending to follow this course but not essential.

A level Further Mathematics is a separate qualification from A level Mathematics and is both fun and rewarding. It broadens your skills and promotes deeper mathematical thinking.

The course extends many of the topics that are covered in A level and also introduces brand new concepts, such as complex numbers and Decision Mathematics. Further Mathematics pupils study the course separately from those who take single Mathematics and so will have a greater number of lessons devoted to these two subjects.


Four externally-examined papers which are taken in the Summer Term of Upper Sixth. Two of the papers are compulsory whilst two can be selected from a number of options (Further Pure Mathematics, Further Statistics, Further Mechanics and Decision Mathematics)
Paper 1: Core Pure Mathematics 1 (Paper code 9FM0/01)
Paper 2: Core Pure Mathematics 2 (Paper code 9FM0/02)
Paper 3: Further Mathematics Option 1
Paper 4: Further Mathematics Option 2


Entry requirements: A passing grade at GCSE or equivalent is necessary to study at Standard Level, or a grade 9 at GCSE or equivalent to study at Higher Level.

Pupils studying this course at Higher Level may go on to study social sciences, business, some economics, psychology, chemistry, biological sciences, medicine and possibly some engineering at university.

This course aims to emphasise and make explicit the applications and of the mathematics being taught. Maths Studies has evolved into this Standard Level course. A supplementary course on Vectors will also
be followed for all Standard Level pupils.


Standard Level:
Paper 1 (90 minutes) Graphic Display Calculator (GDC) required. (80 marks) Weighting: 40%
Paper 2 (90 minutes) GDC required. (80 marks) Weighting: 40%
Internal Assessment Mathematical Exploration (20 marks) Weighting: 20%

Higher Level:
Paper 1 (120 minutes) GDC required (110 marks) Weighting: 30%
Paper 2 (120 minutes) GDC required (110 marks) Weighting: 30%
Paper 3 (60 minutes) GDC required (55 marks) Weighting 20%
Two compulsory extended response problem-solving questions
Internal Assessment Mathematical Exploration Weighting: 20%


Selected Lower School pupils take the Intermediate Mathematical Challenge in February. The most successful then take The International Mathematical Olympiad and Kangaroo (IMOK) in April.

All pupils taking Further Mathematics or Higher Mathematics take part in the Senior Mathematical Challenge in November. The most successful may be invited to take part in the British Mathematical Olympiad.

The School also enters teams for the Intermediate and Senior Team Challenges. There are training sessions for these teams before the events.


Owen Daniel

Analytical advisor to Lord chief Justice
Kenwyn/Tallis 1999-2007

“Teachers at Gresham’s taught me that mathematics is as creative as English literature, with the arithmetic we learn at a young age simply being the grammar, not the end goal. The passion they instilled in me carried me through to obtaining a PhD in pure mathematics.

In the five years since graduating, I’ve already applied maths in diverse areas, two highlights being working on the fisheries negotiations for EU Exit, and being the first analytical advisor to the Lord Chief Justice.”

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