Mathematics at St Michael’s begins with games and problem solving activities in Nursery and Kindergarten, with more formal lessons starting in Reception and Years 1 and 2; interactive whiteboards with maths applications make stimulating lessons even more enjoyable. Differentiation is achieved through ability groupings at different tables.
From Year 3, your child will start to work in whole class ability groups, a strategy which continues throughout their time at the Prep School. Years 5 to 8 see our pupils prepare for 11+ and Common Entrance at 11+ and 13+, as well as for individual schools entrance exams. Potential scholars work towards their scholarship exams in a small group or one-to-one. We identify and extend talented pupils and support those who need extra help.
But its not all hard work in the classrooms! Fun at the Year 2 and 3 Maths Challenge morning continues with yearly Maths races against teams from many different schools; the Primary Maths Challenge and through extra-curricular activities!
We take Maths out into the real world by taking part in some exciting inter-school competitions, including the Maths Races at Somerhill, Hazelwood and Walthamstow Hall, where our teams put in very creditable performances and thoroughly enjoy working with and against other mathematicians!
Maths can be great fun! We run the Magical Maths club after school, where children from Years 3 to 6 have worked with Professor Poopenshtinken, Stately Holmes and The Mathemagician. As one of our pupils said “It was really fun because we learned easy ways to solve some difficult mathematical problems in a matter of seconds. We used magical illusions to make it look easy“.
We also hold ‘clinics’, on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis, to help those pupils who need reinforcement of a topic or who missed a lesson, to ensure they do not get behind their peers.
We welcome mathematicians, such as Dr Matt Pritchard, into school, who entertain and engage our children in creative mathematical thinking. We love to discover that things we may think of as impossible may just need to be thought about in a different way, a really important lesson for us all! Dr Matt (as we call him!)is a member of the Magic Circle and passionate about science and maths, the subjects of his range of shows Not only are our children and teachers captivated by his marvellous mixture of maths and magic, our parents also really enjoyed the shows!
Hyenas battle with Bears and Jaguars chase Elephants this week as pupils from Years 2 and 3 strive to beat their opponents in the Maths Challenge! Working in teams (all named after animals!) the children have 9 minutes to complete challenges, ranging from placing pennies on numbers and creating shapes with sticks and bodies to Sudoku, code breaking and placing all the members of the Simpsons in the correct place at the dining table, by following instructions! Enormous fun and very instructive!
Potential academic scholars are identified in good time to prepare them for scholarship examinations to schools such as Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Sutton Valence, King’s Canterbury and Caterham. Preparation takes place both in class and either in groups or individually, outside normal lesson time, for entry to new schools at 11+ and 13+. We are very proud of our scholarship achievement record.
An 11+ club starts in Year 5, and continues until the middle of Year 6, until such time as all the entrance exams have been completed. Our children learn different exam techniques, look at the style of the papers and learn how to answer the questions. They also look at the type of questions and learn about timing themselves, along with developing a longer concentration span. Once the 11+ exam has been completed, the club continues by looking at the individual school entrance exams. Again we look at how the exam is set out, the style of the questions and the different requirements for each school. Throughout the sessions the pupils are also learning new mathematical skills, extra and extended mathematical concepts, which they will need for their entrance exam and for the scholarships questions.
We set for maths from Year 3. There are three or four sets in Years 3-6. Although sets never exceed 20 children, in practice they are usually significantly smaller than this; the lowest numbers being in lower sets, where we are able to give our children an even higher level of individual attention. The new National Curriculum/Common Entrance syllabus is covered in all sets, and setting allows us to work at the pace that best suits each individual pupil, giving extra support where needed and challenging the most able. Sets are fluid in that children may be moved during the academic year should this be in their best interest.
We believe in making maths as practical as possible and the pupils can see the benefit of maths in the real.