The Mathematics Department is housed in the Theatre Building,
and the mathematical formulae adorning the walls leave no doubt as
to the purpose of this area of the School.
The Department is hugely subscribed for post-GCSE courses, with
many students studying both A level Mathematics and Further
Academic achievement is a large part of what we aim for, and the
Department continues to have fantastic results at all levels,
including at Standard grade, GCSE, AS and A-level.
Activities during the year include the Maths Fun Day (organised
by Mr Lucas) for P5 pupils; many students also take part in the
UKMT Maths Challenges throughout the year.
Stephen Campbell BSc: Head of
Mr Campbell is Timetable Coordinator, and a member of the Academic
Management Team. His interests include football (he assists with
afternoon activities on the field) and music. He plays a key role
in the academic management of the School. He also is a tutor in
Marion Muetzelfeldt BSc: Deputy
Mrs Muetzelfeldt is a highly valued teacher of boys at all levels,
specialising in Further Pure Mathematics.
Julian Vaughan BSc
Mr Vaughan retired from the full time staff in 2012, but still
returns to teach in the VI Form.
Richard Lucas MEng, MA
Mr Lucas's interests are diverse and include football, where he
assists with afternoon options, magic (he has frequently
demonstrated tricks within the School) and motorsport. He also
plays the cornet, and tutors in Pringle House.
Richard McCorkell BSc
Richard is from Northern Ireland, and is a graduate of Edinburgh
University. He has many sporting interests, in particular hockey
Federica Vian BSc, PhD
Dr Vian is from Venice, Italy, and took
her first degree at the University of Padua, followed by a PhD
at Parma University. Following a period of post-doctoral
research in Copenhagen, she moved to Scotland, where she trained as
a teacher of Mathematics. Federica teaches
throughout the school, with a focus on gifted and able
Mary Watson BSc
Part time teacher of Mathematics and ICT.
Nicola Ledingham BEng
Mrs Ledingham hails from Oxford, and took a degree in Mechanical
Engineering at the University of Loughborogh. Nicola then spent 15
years in global business, before retraining as a Mathematics
teacher. She teaches at all ages and stages throughout the school,
and is also in charge of Careers and Business
Juliet Vaughan BA
As well as teaching Mathematics, Miss Vaughan is Director of
Studies in Pringle, where she helps many pupils on a one-to one
basis and in small groups.
Richard Charman BA
Mr Charman is the Director of Co-curricular & Sport, and
teaches Mathematics in the Junior School and Middle Years.
The Department recently opened a new facility in the upstairs
foyer of the theatre, allowing for lessons with the huge amount of
extra teaching which takes place with small groups, as well as an
area in which pupils and staff can relax. This was funded
through a kind donation to the department from the parents of two
Merchistonians, Ben and Douglas Quayle.
I Form: The scheme used in First Form is Teejay
mathematics, as used in most Scottish Primary schools.
Mathematics is taught in a differentiated way, according to each
student's level at 5-14. Daily mental testing is carried out.
II & III Forms: The scheme used here is
Mathematics in Action, and there are normally two sets in Second
Form and three in Third Form. By the end of the Third Form, pupils
have covered all of the topics set out in 5-14.
IV Form: Pupils begin a three-year preparation
for GCSE. As a core subject, all pupils will study it to the
end of V Form, normally with the same member of staff. Two
tests (NFER and MidYIS) are used in conjunction with knowledge of
pupils' abilities and attitudes to get the most accurate possible
setting. All boys possess a calculator recommended by the
school, but also spend time working without it. Many sit the
Junior Mathematics Challenge, which is a National competition,
designed to stimulate enquiring minds.
Shell and V Forms: Currently, most
sets are entered for both Standard Grade and GCSE, as the A*
grade is available at GCSE. Many students in these year groups
take the Intermediate Mathematics Challenge.
AS and A level: The scheme is modular, assessed by written
papers at the end of both years. For an A level, students
take six modules: four in Pure Mathematics (called Core
Mathematics), one in Mechanics and one in Probability and
Statistics. Some will take anything up to seven Core Mathematics
modules towards a total of nine or twelve to qualify for Further
Mathematics certification either at AS or A Level. Upper Sixth
courses all include more Pure mathematics, but the precise balance
will be chosen by the department to reflect the best interests of
those in the set.
Higher: This course builds on the Credit level of the
Standard Grade. The syllabus is of Pure Mathematics, applied in a
wide variety of problem contexts. During the Lower VI, these
students often take the Intermediate 2 course, as a preparation for
the full Higher.
SQA Modules: Some pupils who do not wish to commit
themselves to Higher may nevertheless wish to continue to acquire
mathematical skills. To this end a course is provided which, as
well as possessing intrinsic value, leads to SQA Modules (formerly
known as ScotVec) which may prove of use when applying to, or
studying within, Higher Education.
The Department takes part regularly in national
2012-13 was another very successful year in the UK Mathematics
Challenges and Olympiads. The results were as follows:
Senior: 11 Gold, 9 Silver, 7 Bronze
Intermediate: 5 Gold, 12 Silver, 7 Bronze
Junior: 6 Gold, 10 Silver, 13 Bronze
There was some wonderful success in the follow-on rounds, the
European Kangaroo and the British Mathematics Olympiad.
At Senior level, 5 boys qualified: of these, William G and Ben G
were both awarded Certificates of Distinction. In William's
case, he also won a Silver medal. Two of William's solutions
were considered so elegant that they were used as exemplars for
other students. William was invited to two training camps,
firstly in Hungary over the Christmas holiday, then at Trinity
College, Cambridge (where he will be taking up the study of Natural
Sciences in Autumn 2013). As a result of this, he was invited
to take part in the Balkan Olympiad in Cyprus in summer 2013, as
part of the British team. William also proceeded to round 2
of the Olympiad, and one of his solutions in this event was
considered so good that it is being used in the annual United
Kingdom mathematics Trust Year Book, to be published later this
Of the 4 candidates who too part in the Senior European
Kangaroo, Benson C and Ying both received
Certificates of merit.
At Intermediate level, 4 candidates went on to the European
Kangaroo, and Kirill C secured a Certificate of Merit.
At Junior level, Victor W took part in
the Junior Mathematics Olympiad - at the time of writing, his
result is awaited. Special mention should be made of James R,
who gained a Gold Award in the Challenge, which is a particularly
ingressive achievement for a II Form pupil in a competition
designed for pupils of IV Form age.