Mathematics

Find out more about studying Mathematics at Westminster

Mathematics

  • About
  • Curriculum
  • Enrichment
  • Staff
  • After Westminster
  • About

    Mathematics is a flourishing subject at Westminster. Our aim is to make Mathematics lessons opportunities for the collaborative development of ideas, not simply for instruction in set methods or preparation for examinations.

    Most pupils at Westminster relish a challenge and enjoy Mathematics for this reason: our hope is for them all to tackle problems that they find demanding and to learn to deal independently with them, and our intention is to offer them the opportunity to do so as an integral part of our lessons.

    Department Contact Miss Polly Brownlee
    polly.brownlee@westminster.org.uk
  • Curriculum
    Lower School

    Mathematics is a compulsory part of the curriculum in the Lower School; all pupils have four Mathematics lessons a week in each year.  

    Pupils are prepared first for Mathematics GCSE: we do not accelerate our pupils through these examinations as quickly as possible, meaning pupils cannot take the GCSE a year early. Our policy is instead to provide every pupil with as rich a foundation in GCSE-level material as possible, and this means going well beyond the syllabus in terms of the complexity of the examples pupils encounter, and the flexibility with which they can deploy what they know in unfamiliar problems and contexts. We hope this also gives pupils the opportunity to achieve the best possible grades in their Mathematics GCSE; however, they are likely also to be presented with a considerable amount of additional material that we consider useful, interesting or instructive.  

    Many will have the opportunity to take part in the National Mathematics Challenges, in which our pupils in the past have done very well. Where appropriate, pupils will also work on material from the A Level Mathematics syllabus and on other topics – in geometry for instance – which are no longer in any school syllabus. 

    Syllabus & Code
    OCR GCSE Mathematics J560
    Upper School

    The best reason for taking Mathematics at A Level is that is enjoyable: that is, that pupils find satisfaction in stretching their intellect to understand abstract ideas and tackle taxing problems. The A Level also compliments the Physics A Level, to which it is often studied alongside.  

    Mathematics is a very popular A Level subject at Westminster, studied by about three quarters of the Sixth Form (Year 12) and with every possible combination of other subjects. The department teaches six sets each year the single Mathematics A Level: all follow the same course, studying both pure mathematics (algebra, calculus, geometry) and applied mathematics (mechanics and statistics – there is no choice of specialisation) and are taught by two different teachers. Those who are able to are, as a matter of course, taken beyond the A Level syllabus both by covering extra material and by developing their problem-solving abilities.

    There are in addition seven or more sets each year studying for two A Levels in Mathematics – Mathematics and Further Mathematics – in which the subject is investigated in a more rigorous and sophisticated way. These sets are taught separately from the single-subject mathematicians, by three teachers who cover between them pure mathematics, mechanics, statistics and discrete mathematics.  

    Syllabus & Code
    OCR A Level H240 Mathematics
    FURTHER MATHEMATICS IN THE UPPER SCHOOL

    The best reason for taking Further Mathematics, however, is simply that for those who are reasonably good at and get pleasure from Mathematics, the course is more stimulating, more challenging and, therefore, more enjoyable than the single A Level course. At Westminster, many more pupils take Further Mathematics than at most other schools: and for those who love Mathematics, Further Mathematics makes for the perfect pairing.

    Those who are thinking of reading Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics or Engineering at university ought to take Further Mathematics and it is very strongly recommended for those who wish to take Economics at university.  

    Syllabus & Code
    OCR A Level H245 Further Mathematics
    Sixth Form Entry
    Subject requirements for the course
    Ideally, pupils looking to study Mathematics or Further Mathematics in the Sixth Form will be on track to get a grade 9 in (I)GCSE Mathematics.

    Entrance Examination

    There will be two 45-minute papers: a multiple choice paper for Mathematics and a written paper for those who wish to study Further Mathematics. Prospective Further Mathematicians will sit both papers. The content of the papers will be focused on topics that we are sure pupils will have studied by the end of year 10.

    Overseas Candidates
    There is no (I)GCSE requirement for those who attend schools overseas that do not prepare pupils for (I)GCSE examinations. Candidates will be considered for a place based on their performance in the School’s entrance examinations and a transcript of results from their current school.
  • Enrichment

    One of the unique aspects of the Westminster course is the emphasis on problem solving within the curriculum: there are lessons dedicated to developing problem-solving skills and learning specific techniques. Many will also have the opportunity to take part in the National Mathematics Challenges, in which our pupils in the past have done very well. 

    There is a thriving Mathematics Society run by pupils who deliver talks to their peers, and there are also popular Bridge and Chess Societies that meet frequently and compete in School and in external competitions too.  

    In the Election Term (summer term) of the Sixth Form (Year 12) and during the Remove (Year 13) year, there is a process of preparing pupils for university entrance examinations. This covers the MAT, TMUA and mentoring for those who receive STEP offers. 

  • Staff

    * denotes Head of Department
    † denotes Housemaster

    Mr Kevin Au (KYA)
    Mr Andrew Bottomley (ADB)
    Miss Polly Brownlee (FPB) — Head of Mathematics  *
    Mr Iain Butler ( ITB)
    Mr Dyfan Coles (DWFC)
    Mr Michael Davies (MCD)
    Mr Fraser Elliott (FDE)
    Mr Giles Hayter (GADH)
    Dr Nickolas Kalivas (NGK)
    Mr Thomas Kennedy (TAK)
    Dr Jonathan Matthews ( JM) — Head of Lower School Activities
    Mr Ezra Lutton ( EL) — Head of Lower Shell; Lower & Upper Shell RSHE and Wellbeing Lead
    Dr Nicholas Simons (NJS)
    Mr Peter Smith (PCLS)
    Mr Andrew Tolley (ACT) — Head of Data and Timetable
    Dr Rob Wagner (RCW)
    Ms Helen Wang (HMW)
  • After Westminster

    The department prepares about 20 pupils each year for entrance examinations in Mathematics and Computer Science. Many of these pupils go on to study these subjects at top universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial College, St Andrews and UCL. The skills and determination demonstrated by pupils of Further Mathematics are much sought-after by universities worldwide.

    Pupils go on to study Mathematics, Computer Science, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Economics, Management and PPE at University, for which Mathematics A Level is a requisite. The subject is especially a good indicator of an individual’s ability to cope with the logical aspects of Philosophy at University.

“I love the enthusiasm and creativity that Westminsters bring to lessons, taking ownership of their learning and building their conceptual understanding through discussion with their peers”

— Mr Andrew Bottomley, Teacher of Mathematics

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