In the Prep department we seek to ensure that all boys develop an understanding and enjoyment of Maths. This is done through providing a stimulating and challenging mathematical environment, using differentiated tasks in order to interest and motivate boys of all abilities. This enables all boys to succeed, whatever their individual needs. Their learning is enriched through a variety of individual, paired and group tasks; thus promoting the discussion of mathematical ideas. Problem solving and investigations are also practised to encourage boys to make connections across mathematical ideas and to develop reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems.


Homework is given weekly in Prep 1 to Prep 4 (Year 3 to Year 6). Time spent on homework should be approximately:
Prep 1 (Year 3) – 20 minutes
Prep 2 (Year 4) – 20 – 30 minutes
Prep 3 (Year 5) – 30 minutes
Prep 4 (Year 6) – 30 – 40 minutes

All homework is designed to consolidate work done in class and is differentiated to match the boys’ understanding. Homework also provides parents with an invaluable opportunity to be involved in their sons’ learning. Some boys will invariably work through homework tasks more easily than others. Parents are asked to enable their son to do what is reasonable and to seek further clarification from their son’s Maths teacher when necessary.

Timetabling and Setting

The timetable allocation for Maths is as follows:
Prep 1 (Year 3) – 5 x 1 hour lessons per week
Prep 2 (Year 4) – 5 x 1 hour lessons per week
Prep 3 (Year 5) – 4 x 1 hour lessons per week
Prep 4 (Year 6) – 4 x 1 hour lessons per week

Boys in Preps 1 and 2 are taught in class groups, with a small group of boys needing a little extra reinforcement taken from both classes to make up a smaller set taught by a third teacher.
Boys in Preps 3 and 4 are taught in sets according to their ability. There are usually 3 sets per year group.


Assessment is an integral part of all Maths teaching. Boys’ progress is continually monitored throughout their time in the Prep School.
In Preps 1 and 2 the boys are tested at the start and end of the year.
In Prep 3 the boys are tested each term.
In Prep 4 the boys are also tested each term; the Easter Term test is the Senior School Entrance Test.

Grades are reported to parents on a half termly basis. In Preps 1 and 2 these are for effort only. In Preps 3 and 4 grades are given for effort and attainment.

Other Events

There are several mathematical events which take place throughout the school year. The Happy Puzzle Company visit during the Autumn Term as part of a joint venture with Ashdell Prep School. This visit provides all boys with the opportunity to solve problems as part of a group. In Prep 4 there are further opportunities to be involved in Maths challenges outside of school. In the Easter Term two Prep 4 Maths teams take part in the annual Sheffield Pop Maths Quiz, held at Sheffield Hallam University. This again involves team work against approximately 60 teams from around the region. Birkdale boys have been successful in winning this event in the past. There is also the National Young Mathematicians’ Awards in which we enter a Prep 4 team.

Curriculum Plan

For full details of the Maths Curriculum Plan please click here

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