11 Aug 2016

Mathematics in Year 9 [August 2016]

Dear Parent(s) of students going into Year 9,
Students’ mathematical abilities vary widely, so we put students into sets for Mathematics. We decide the set for each student based on the class teacher’s knowledge of the student’s ability, the student’s work in Mathematics this year and the end of topic tests which the student sits throughout the year. The topics covered next year will be broadly the same in each set, but some sets will go into more detail and extend the work, while others will concentrate more on basic ideas, and will omit some of the more abstract topics. The purpose of this e-letter is to provide you with some information about our setting structure.
Year 9 Set Structure 2016 – 17
Sets: 09MA101 / 105
Students in these sets will follow our extended scheme of work, based on the textbook: “Mathematics for the International student 8 MYP 3” (ISBN 978-1-876543-35-8). Students have already completed about half of this text in Year 8, and will continue and complete this in Year 9. These classes contain mathematically able students who will cover the work at a somewhat advanced pace and will be able to explore some extension work.  They will all be entered for the Extended IGCSE for Mathematics and most of them will also sit IGCSE Additional Mathematics (Cambridge) which is an additional and more demanding Mathematics qualification.  Both these public examinations will take place at the end of Year 11.
Sets: 09MA102 / 103 / 106 / 107
Students in these sets will also follow a scheme of work that uses the textbook described above. They are likely to cover less extension material than the classes above. Students who remain in these two classes take either the Core or Extended examination for IGCSE at the end of Year 1.  Most will take Extended, but a final decision on this will not be made until early in Year 11.
Sets: 09MA104 / 108
Students in these sets will follow the standard core course, which uses a wider range of resources. They will use the textbook above at times, as well as other texts. This course covers the basic essentials, avoiding the more abstract concepts, and forms an excellent preparation for Core Mathematics IGCSE in Years 10 and 11, while avoiding the more demanding extension work. These sets are deliberately kept smaller to allow more teacher contact for those who find the subject particularly difficult.  Students in these sets are likely to proceed to IGCSE Core level which has a maximum grade of C, in Years 10 and 11.
Set changes:
Students who are changing sets next academic year have been told by their current class teacher along with which class they are moving into.  Once the school’s database has been updated and confirmed at the start of August an email will be sent directly to you confirming your child’s new Mathematics class.
During the course of the year students will be assessed by regular tests on the material covered. Consequently, we will be able to see if any students are misplaced, and act accordingly. These results allow us to repeat the setting process at the end of Year 9 so that students progress to a suitable IGCSE set for Years 10 and 11.
Our aim in setting students is to find the set in which a student is most likely to succeed. There is flexibility in the system, and students can be moved at any time if necessary. However, we prefer not to move students too much, favouring a stable teacher-student relationship wherever possible. We hope this e-letter will clarify any concerns you may have with regard to your child’s Mathematics set which will be confirmed at the start of the next academic year in August.
Yours fatihfully,
Martin Astill (Head of Mathematics)