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Dacorum Education Support Centre

Dacorum Education Support Centre


Students of Maths at DESC are offered a variety of options at KS4.  

The options are:

  • Entry Level Mathematics s at Level 1,2 or 3
  • Functional Skills Level 1 Mathematics 
  • GCSE Foundation Mathematics 
  • GCSE Higher Mathematics
  • GCSE Statistics

Entry Level Maths is an initial qualification in Maths, assessing the basics of Mathematical thinking.  At level1 the topics focus mostly on basic number ideas and simple computations.  By Level 3 the content has increased in difficulty and begins to assess simple ideas from the four main topic areas of Number, Shape, Algebra and Data.

Functional Skills Level 1 Mathematics is a qualification that focusses on the practical applications of Mathematics in the real world, developing ideas needed in work situations such as the ability to plan time schedules and ideas of area and perimeter needed in construction.  Other topics include using fractions and percentages in practical contexts as well as the ideas of ratio needed for understanding and using mixtures in various situations such as recipes and in the construction industry.  The Functional Skills qualification is offered to the majority of our students as an initial qualification leading to the GCSE qualification if the student demonstrates the potential to apply themselves to the full GCSE course. 

The GCSE Foundation Mathematics syllabus covers the main topic areas of Number, Shape, Algebra and Data.  In Number, students are taught to use negative numbers, decimals and percentages as well as ideas of ratio and proportion.  In Shape, students learn to work with angles in flat shapes as well as understanding the areas and perimeters of a variety of other shapes.  Students also learn to understand ideas of surface area and volume in 3-D shapes. In Algebra, we learn to substitute both positive and negative values into expressions and how to understand and draw graphs of algebraic equations.  In Data, we learn to use different averages with lists of numbers and how to represent data using graphs and charts.  These descriptions identify the core ideas in each area but there are many other topics covered within each area. 

The GCSE Higher Mathematics course focuses on the same four main topic areas of Number, Shape, Algebra and Data but covers the topics at a much more abstract and complex level than the Foundation course and is offered to student that we identify as being Mathematically able and likely achieve at this level and enjoy the challenge of more complex ideas.

The GCSE Statistics course teaches the use and understanding of data, ranging from methods of data collection and representation to interpreting and assessing the validity of data sets and conclusions reached from those data sets. The course is offered as an extra GCSE qualification to students who are mathematically literate and who choose it as an extra option during the year.