Department Vision

In the Mathematics Department, our mission is to provide a motivational environment which encourages learners to:

  • Show an appreciation of the beauty of Mathematics.
  • Be confident in applying Mathematics in the real world.
  • Become independent learners and develop good problem-solving skills.
  • Be enthused with curiosity, aspiration and a feeling of success.

Introduction to Mathematics

Mathematics is the means of looking at the patterns that make up our world and the intricate and beautiful ways in which they are constructed and realised. Numeracy is the means of making that knowledge useful, by applying Mathematics to solve problems in real-world contexts.

Mathematics contributes to the school curriculum by developing a learner’s abilities to calculate; to reason logically, algebraically, and geometrically; to solve problems; to understand increasingly abstract concepts and to handle data.

Learners develop resilience as they encounter unfamiliar or complex problems and a sense of achievement as they overcome the challenges involved. Through the application of Mathematics, strategic competency is developed as are their metacognitive skills when learners reflect on their performance and ways in which improve. Mathematics cultivates ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives.

Mathematics is important for learners in many other areas of study, particularly Science and Technology. It is also important in everyday living, in many forms of employment and in public decision-making. Mathematics provides learners with the tools to analyse data critically and encourages clarity of thinking allowing learners to understand and make reasoned decisions, helping them become ethical informed citizens of Wales and the world.

Learners encounter contexts relating to health and personal finance and Mathematics enables them to acquire the skills necessary to manage their own finances, and make informed decisions, through interpreting information and data, assessing risk and becoming critical consumers. Thus, helping learners become healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

As a subject in its own right, Mathematics presents frequent opportunities for creativity, and can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder when a problem is solved for the first time, or a more elegant solution is discovered, or when hidden connections suddenly manifest. Thus, Mathematics contributes to developing enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work.

Mathematics enables learners to build a secure framework of mathematical reasoning, which they can use and apply with confidence. The power of mathematical reasoning lies in its use of precise and concise forms of language, symbolism and representation to reveal and explore general relationships. Learners comprehend and become proficient at communicating with symbols. These mathematical forms are widely used for modelling situations; a trend accelerated by computational technologies.

Mathematics embodies the spirit of the liberal arts: mathematics is an art, a pure science, a language and an analytical tool for the natural and social sciences, a means of exploring philosophical questions, and a beautiful edifice that is a tribute to human creativity.

The subject transcends cultural boundaries, and its importance is universally recognised. Mathematics helps us to understand and change the World.

Our Mathematics team at Ysgol Bryn Elian have high expectations for all of our pupils and believe that everybody should have an enjoyment in doing such a fantastic subject. Mathematics is often painted in a negative light by some but the world would not run without it and we want to ensure that when pupils leave our school, they have had a positive experience and are, at the very least, mathematically secure.


Mrs H Hayes

Head of Department

Mr P Brierley

Teacher of Mathematics

Mr J Chaplin

Teacher of Mathematics

Learning Manager

Ms S Krol

Teacher of Mathematics

Mr R Render

Teacher of Mathematics

Senior Assistant Head teacher

Mr S Whitfield

Teacher of Mathematics

Mr N Vyner

Teacher of Mathematics


Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9.

Classes begin studying GCSE topics from the start of Year 7 at a level suitable to them. This practice has been recognised by Estyn and shared as ‘Effective Practice’ on their website. The scheme of work is designed to give pupils the time to gain a deep understanding of each topic and therefore build confidence in such a wonderfully powerful subject area which can be used across the curriculum. Modules are put together in small manageable chunks and are assessed regularly so that misconceptions and areas for development are addressed consistently.

Alongside this, pupils in Year 7 also complete five projects, based around different themes and linked to different AoLEs. The symmetry project enables pupils to demonstrate their creative skills in Maths and brings in symmetrical patterns from the world around us. There are two statistics projects which follow the Handling Data cycle and pupils are able to use mathematics to test hypotheses. The money project looks at value for money and best buys and the project based around codes and ciphers, introduces pupils to some of the codes and ciphers that have been utilised throughout history and gives them the opportunity to create their own. The projects afford pupils the opportunity to develop wider and cross curricular skills. Pupils are exposed to real life occurrences of Mathematics throughout history as well as its current uses.

In each of Year 8 and Year 9, a project is completed termly. These build on the skills developed in Year 7 and contain topics that are relevant to the age group.

Classes are set on ability to ensure that a suitable level of challenge takes place in each lesson. Pupils are encouraged to have their own mathematical equipment including a scientific calculator so that they can become proficient in using it during their time in school.

Year 10 and Year 11.

Classes continue their mathematics journey as they begin to prepare for their GCSE examinations in Mathematics and Mathematics Numeracy. Lessons continue to focus on gaining a deep understanding of each topic but have an additional focus on exam style questions. Action research is undertaken by staff to ensure that we are at the forefront of teaching and pedagogy.

Pupils will be entered for their GCSE examinations when we believe they are able to fulfil their potential and achieve the best grades possible. For those pupils who achieve an A or A* before the summer of Year 11, we offer the Additional Mathematics Qualification; a great step up to AS and A level Mathematics.

All pupils have the opportunity of studying the Level 2 Certificate in Financial Education and Careers.

This looks in detail at the financial situations that pupils will come across in later life. There are topics on tax, budgeting, loans, mortgages, savings, the principles of money and financial services amongst others.

Year 12 and Year 13.

In the sixth form we offer AS and A levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics. The topics build on those from GCSE and introduces the area of Mathematics called Mechanics. The skills learnt in these A Levels are those that are needed in careers with a high level of Mathematics and prepare pupils for these jobs. Algebra is extended to bring in Calculus topics and link the algebra and graph skills. The important Mathematical skill of proof is formalised, throughout the two years.

Both Mathematics and Further Mathematics from WJEC consist of modules in Pure, Statistics and Mechanics and are 100% examination based.

Also offered is the Level 3 Certificate (Year 12) and Diploma (Year 13) in Financial Studies. In Year 12 pupils look at short term, medium term and long-term financial planning and how attitudes to money can affect our lives. The Diploma, studied in Year 13, continues on from the Certificate and applies skills to the wider financial environment.

Careers and Opportunities

Learning to think like a mathematician will improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills.

The skills you learn in mathematics are also important in many other subjects. Some you may have studied before, such as biology, and others you may not, like sports science. Many of them require a C+ at GCSE and will be much easier to study if you have a good grasp of the subject. Maths is good for combining with other subjects and goes particularly well with the physical and social sciences. A maths qualification is highly regarded for entry onto many further education courses.

It’s not just at university that the ability to apply a process, manipulate equations and deal with basic geometry come in useful. Many people find that the topics they were taught at GCSE come up again and again, whatever their profession. Many employers rate the ability to handle data very highly – i.e., the ability to get information from graphs and charts, to manipulate percentages and fractions, and to make sensible predictions from data.

The most fundamental reason to study maths is that it teaches you to learn – to build up an understanding from basic principles, to develop general concepts, and then to apply this to specific examples. You learn to think logically, to ask questions and check out your conclusions, all of which are really useful life skills.

Useful Websites

Each pupil has a personal login to the following website:


We also recommend:

Corbett Maths

Diagnostic Questions

Mr Barton Maths

Awards & Accolades