The mathematics department is located principally in the Heywood Block, where it occupies a suite of modern classrooms equipped with interactive projectors. Rich in expertise, members of the department are able to serve the mathematical needs of Marlburians, whether they are struggling with the fundamental tenets of algebra or competing in the British Mathematical Olympiad.
The department’s aims are set out at the beginning of its handbook:
- To make all pupils confident in Mathematics.
- To make Mathematics enjoyable.
- To teach pupils at the appropriate pace and ability.
- To achieve as good a set of results as is consistent with each pupil’s ability.
- To encourage suitable students to apply to read Mathematics at university.
These are all ongoing targets designed to ensure that members of the department are always striving to share best practice and discuss relevant strategies. Marlborough College’s maths teachers are extremely committed and often make themselves available outside timetabled lessons to offer extra assistance and encouragement.
As soon as pupils arrive in Marlborough College’s Shell, they begin to study towards the Edexcel IGCSE in mathematics. For the first time in 2018, this qualification will be graded 9–1 and it is expected that the papers will prove more challenging than in previous years, helping to bridge the existing gap between pre-16 and post-16 mathematics.
In the Sixth Form, pupils who opt to study mathematics have three options. Most pupils choose the A level; a traditional linear course assessed through three exams at its conclusion. Two of these exams contain pure mathematics and the third is split evenly between Statistics and Mechanics. The most able mathematicians are encouraged to take a second, Further Mathematics, A level for which four extra exams are taken; pupils have the opportunity to explore more abstract ideas, such as complex numbers, and advanced mathematical techniques, such as methods of solving differential equations.
Those pupils who wish to continue studying mathematics but will find a traditional A level daunting, can sit a level 3 qualification called Mathematics in Context. This aims to explore the direct application of mathematics in the workplace, such as the analysis of statistical reports, and carries the same UCAS tariff as an AS level.
The department enters about a quarter of each suitable year group into the UKMT’s (United Kingdom Mathematics Trust) Senior Maths Challenge or Intermediate Maths Challenge. Pupils get the opportunity to pit their wits against imaginative multiple-choice questions; the most successful candidates are selected for later rounds of the competition. There is a member of department with responsibility for competitions through whom teams for external competitions are also organised.
For Further Mathematicians, the Welchman Prize gives them the opportunity to research and write an essay and give a presentation on an interesting off-curriculum topic. Named after Gordon Welchman (C3 1920–25), Marlborough College’s most important mathematical alumnus, this takes place halfway through their course.
The maths library is an area where pupils can find reference books specific to our subject and is a place where they can go to work. There is also an area dedicated to maths books in the main school Memorial Library and we are lucky enough to have an original edition of Newton’s Principia Mathematica in the rare books section.
We encourage pupils to make use of the expertise within the department; a number of drop-in sessions are also held weekly for pupils with general queries or who find they are in need of some extra assistance.
O P Elton BA (Head of Department)
Miss N L Allen BSc (2nd in Department)
J M Birchall BSc
Mrs A J Finn MSc
Dr S D Flatres MSci PhD
Ms O Gallagher BSc
Miss O F Grimley BSc
G D M Lane BSc
M C J Loxton MMath
Mrs D J Harris MA
M McNally BSc
Dr E Ryder BSc PhD
C S Smith BEng MSc
C O Stewart MA