A super set of results for a cohort that has shown huge resilience and spirit over the past two years.
The Department is hugely subscribed for post-GCSE courses, with many students studying both A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics.
Academic achievement is a large part of what we aim for, and the Department continues to have fantastic results at all levels, including at iGCSE, AS and A-level.
Mrs Duncan gained a degree in Mathematics and Economics from St Andrews University before returning to Edinburgh to complete her PGCE. Since then she has taught in a number of schools around Scotland but is delighted to have returned to Edinburgh, where she was born, to teach at Merchiston. As well as teaching in the Maths department Mrs Duncan is also in charge of academic exams.
Mr McCorkell is from Northern Ireland, and is a graduate of Edinburgh University. He has many sporting interests, in particular hockey and cricket.
Dr Steen is from Northern Ireland and is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast, where she also completed her PGCE. Since joining Merchiston, she has taught throughout the School; at A Level her particular focus is on Pure Maths. In 2018, she was appointed Second in Department. Outside the classroom, Dr Steen is a resident tutor in Rogerson and helps to prepare students for the SATs
Mr Vaughan retired from the full time staff in 2012, but still returns to teach in the VI Form.
Miss Vaughan is Deputy Head (Academic) of Merchiston Juniors and leads on curriculum and academic issues and Support for Learning in the Juniors, as well as teaching Junior Maths. She is a very experienced teacher who brings out the best in all of her pupils.
Housed in the ‘Napier Schools’ which also contain the Theatre, the Department also has a facility in the upstairs foyer, allowing for lessons with the huge amount of extra teaching which takes place in 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.
The Department is looking smarter with plenty of improvements in the infrastructures, among which is a beautifully refurbished kitchen. Staff continue to compete fiercely in the Friday Great Maths Bake off.
I Form: The scheme used in I 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 II Form and three in III Form. By the end of the III Form, pupils have covered all of the topics set out in 5-14.
IV Form: Pupils begin a three-year preparation for iGCSE. 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 UKMT Junior Mathematics Challenge, which is a National competition, designed to stimulate enquiring minds.
Shell and V Forms: Currently, all sets are entered for iGCSE. Many students in these year groups take the Intermediate Mathematics Challenge.
A level: The scheme is linear, assessed by written papers at the end of a two-year course. The subject content is divided into three areas: Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Mechanics, which are assessed in three components. Some will take a total of seven components to qualify for Further Mathematics certification at A Level. Upper Sixth courses all include more Pure Mathematics, but the precise balance will be chosen by the student, together with the Department, to reflect the best interests of those in the set.
Higher: This course builds on the iGCSE. The syllabus is of Pure Mathematics, applied in a wide variety of problem contexts. During the Lower VI, these students take the first year of the A level course, in preparation for Higher.
Activities during the year include the Maths Fun Day for P5 pupils from many state and prep schools from Edinburgh and surroundings.
Many students also take part in the UKMT Maths Challenges throughout the year, both as individuals and in teams. Shell pupils who come top in the Intermediate Maths Challenge participate in the UKMT Mathematical Circle, a new enrichment event for around forty able young mathematicians.
Another cohort of Shell pupils is involved in the Edinburgh University Mathematics Masterclass Day in June.
2018/19 was another very successful year in the UK Mathematics Challenges and Olympiads. The results were as follows:
Senior: 10 gold, 11 silver, 17 bronze, 1 British Mathematics Olympiad qualifiers, 10 European Kangaroo qualifiers
Intermediate: 7 gold, 11 silver, 13 bronze, 1 Intermediate Maths Olympiad qualification, 5 qualifications for the European Kangaroo
Junior: 3 gold, 4 silver, 15 bronzes.
As in the three previous years, we participated in the UKMT Senior Team and Junior Team Mathematics Challenges. Unfortunately, neither of our teams qualify among the first three teams this year, but participation served as very good experience for future competitions and the eight pupils involved gained plenty in terms of mathematical skills (during the preparation) and amusement on the day.
The pupil design for a wearable fitness tracker impressed the judges at the Scottish Finals.
Two pupils from Merchiston Juniors describe a recent virtual visit from children's author Cressida Cowell
Second and Fourth Form pupils have produced some super stamp designs to honour their heroes during the pandemic.
Six Industrial Cadets have worked tirelessly for 12 weeks on a STEM challenge and developed their own fitness tracker that is worn in an insole.