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Core Curriculum

Mathematics

There are several strands to the mathematics curriculum. In Core Mathematics you answer many intriguing questions.

How can you solve the equation x² = -4 ?

Why can’t you solve x² + 5y² = 10003 if x and y are integers?

How does your calculator know that sin45° = 0.707... ?

Which is larger, √7π or π√7 ?

In Mechanics you study motion and change: why do you fall backwards when the tube carriage lurches forward? How do you kick a football over the goalkeeper and into the net? Why can you predict solar eclipses next century but not the weather next Tuesday? In Statistics you learn how to make justifiable inferences despite the ineradicable presence of uncertainty. How likely is it that the number 785994771137 is a prime number (and why might the CIA want to know?) How do farmers set next year’s wheat prices? What’s the best way of choosing your spouse? In Decision Mathematics you examine how many of the world's modern problems are solved by computational algorithms. What's the most efficient way to multiply two huge numbers? What is so hard about the travelling salesman problem?

Throughout mathematics lessons, your teachers will encourage you to put forward your own ideas, and will help you to build them, either independently or collaboratively, into powerful and general methods. There will be specific lessons dedicated to improving your ability to solve difficult, abstract problems, and developing your ability to explain your ideas confidently and coherently, both verbally and on paper.

In year 13 all students are entered for:

  • A2 Mathematics (OCR B, MEI)
  • A2 Further Mathematics (OCR B, MEI)

Physics

Physics is about trying, rather successfully as it turns out, to make sense of the world we live in through mathematics. It is often an extreme science: about the very big and the very small, the very heavy and the very light, the very fast and the very slow, the very long lasting and the very short-lived. It is about how and why things work, and about what makes things appear and behave in the way they do. It deals with the historical development of ideas as well as with some of the most important technological and environmental issues of our time. It is the most fundamental and wide ranging of the sciences. In short, it is about everything.

In Physics lessons you will learn about the strange and wonderful world of quantum concepts, and you will develop an in-depth knowledge of electricity, vectors, forces, energy and waves. Where many students of A-level Physics must satisfy themselves with qualitative explanations that are often awkward and unconvincing, you will learn to understand Physics using its natural language, Mathematics.

In year 13 all students are entered for:

  • A2 Physics (OCR B, Advancing Physics)

Computing

Computing has been fundamental to many of the exciting scientific and technological advances of the 21st century; from modern conveniences such as Oyster cards, to DNA sequencing, or number-crunching data generated by the Large Hadron Collider.

Computing lessons will focus on developing the ability to think computationally, that is, how to break down a problem into a logical series of steps, which can then be written as a program and executed by a computer. We will use computational problems from mathematics and physics to motivate key ideas in programming, such as loops, conditionals, data structures and data types. Topics such as set theory and graph theory, which lie within decision mathematics, find important applications when understanding how to write code that is efficient and reliable.

In particular, you will learn to program, using the Python language. You will study what algorithms are, how they work and how to make use of them, and how to bring this knowledge into Mathematics as a powerful way of solving problems.

In year 12 students taking Computer Science are entered for:

  • AS Computer Science (AQA)

Economics

In this year’s general election, the Labour Party decried the “slowest economic recovery in over a hundred years”, and promised if elected to increase the national minimum wage and focus on tax avoidance to achieve a budget surplus. The Conservative Party claimed to be building “a stronger, healthier economy – and securing a better future for Britain” through cutting income tax, reducing immigration and investing in education. Whose strategy do you think is better, and why?

In A-Level economics, we will tackle these key questions: in our study of Macroeconomics we will concern ourselves with understanding and questioning these large-scale economic factors effecting whole countries and the world, including interest rates and productivity. In our study of Microeconomics, we will look closer to home, at the actions and decisions of individuals and groups including questioning how are prices set, and why? How do producers know how much to produce? Why are some markets inefficient, and what does the Government do to intervene?

In year 12 students taking Economics are entered for:

  • AS Economics (EdExcel)

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