Head of Faculty: Mr M. P. Johnson MA MSc PGCE
“Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.” – Dean Schlichter
Mathematics is a very popular subject at Shrewsbury, and the Faculty is the largest in the school for a single subject.
All pupils in Third, Fourth and Fifth Form study towards GCSE Mathematics, and in addition the most able pupils take the Free-Standing Maths Qualification in Additional Mathematics.
In the Sixth Form, a large number of pupils opt to take Mathematics at A Level and a growing number take A Level Further Mathematics as a fourth subject, which reflects the importance of Mathematics for students wishing to study STEM subjects or the social sciences at university. Each year a number of pupils apply to elite universities, such as Oxbridge and Imperial, and the Faculty has several highly qualified and experienced teachers who are able to support their preparation for the MAT and STEP examinations and to conduct mock interviews.
We do appreciate that not all pupils find Mathematics easy and there is plenty of support for those who need it. Whilst pupils are encouraged to request help from their teachers in the first instance, there are supervised twice-weekly drop-in clinics for those requiring additional help.
We also place great emphasis on problem solving in the junior school, and Third and Fourth Formers are encouraged to compete for the Powell Prize, which consists of a series of weekly problems of an amusing and puzzling nature. In addition, each year we enter about 150 pupils for the UKMT Intermediate and Senior Mathematical Challenges from across the year groups, with a dozen or so qualifying for later rounds leading to the British Mathematical Olympiad.
There are also other internal mathematical competitions at Shrewsbury: the Arnold Hagger Prize is a ninety minute paper designed to pick out the most able, rather than the most knowledgeable, mathematician in the school, while the David Harrison Prize is awarded to the best mathematical presentation, which can be historical in nature, encouraging pupils to carry out their own research in whatever mathematical field they might find appealing.
In keeping with the Shrewsbury School spirit, we like to provide a rich and diverse experience within the Mathematics faculty. Guest speakers are invited to present fascinating lectures and presentations to our students and in previous years, trips to university lectures have proven very popular. The Faculty’s Twitter page @ShrewsMaths is regularly updated with news, events, and webinars available to members of the Shrewsbury School community who would like to broaden their mathematical knowledge and branch out beyond the classroom.