Head of Department

Mr S G QuinnBSc, PGCE, PD


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The aim of Cranleigh Mathematics Department is a simple one: to realise the full mathematical potential of each pupil, whilst giving them the firm foundations and the confidence to use maths across the school curriculum and beyond.

Mathematics has a vital place in the culture of the School. It is a core subject in the Lower School with all pupils taking the Edexcel IGCSE, and is consistently a hugely popular subject at A Level. In the Sixth Form pupils study the Edexcel Maths A Level, with the option of the Edexcel Further Maths course for the strongest mathematicians who wish to go much deeper into the subject. We regularly have students moving on to read Maths at University including Oxbridge and for these students we offer regular preparatory sessions for entrance examinations such as STEP and MAT.

In conjunction with the SEN department, we offer support to those who find Maths more challenging, aiming to build confidence and foster a ‘can do’ approach to the subject. We aim to help students at every level, pursue understanding and enjoyment of the subject. Our emphasis is on mathematical enrichment as opposed to acceleration, especially for the brighter pupils. To this end, no pupils take the IGCSE early, but we do explore a variety of topics which are not in the syllabus, enter many of our pupils for the UKMT competitions, and aim to see our top pupils reach “Sixth Form-level” understanding of the IGCSE topics.

Rather than rushing through the syllabus, we aim to see every pupil:

  • Deepen their conceptual understanding: By contextualising topics, approaching them from a wide-range of angles, learning through enquiry when appropriate, and questioning everything, we aim to teach for understanding, not for rote learning.
  • Become fluent in key skills: From mental arithmetic to percentages, and basic algebra to graphing, there are a number of skills that are vital for general life, supporting other school subjects, and to excel in maths itself. Through regular targeted practice, we aim for every pupil to develop fluency in the key skills.
  • Develop the clarity of their communication: Communication, both on paper and verbally, is a vital skill. By focusing on the process of solving mathematical problems, and by aiming to communicate this process as rigorously yet succinctly as possible, we aim to see every pupil become progressively clearer in their communication.
  • Grow valuable learning characteristics: From resilience to creativity, collaboration to inquiry, and from self-reflection to independence, we aim to use maths as a platform from which to develop the character of every pupil.
  • Learn to problem solve: By teaching logic, simplification of problems, pattern spotting and visualisation techniques, we aim to equip every pupil with a ‘tool box’ for problem solving, with which they can confidently tackle unfamiliar problems.

We are a busy department with eleven members of staff, forming a dedicated team who teach in a well-equipped department. We have embraced the use of iPads within the school and use them in an effective manner. Teachers use them as a portable interactive whiteboard and for students they allow access to graphing software and many other useful Maths applications. Staff give generously of their time to help support students beyond formal lessons and there are regular central clinic sessions, giving pupils a place to come for extra support as well as extension work.


We frequently take groups of interested students to see live Mathematical shows, lectures and to participate in Maths challenges and team competitions. Each year our Sixth Form mathematicians enter the UKMT Maths challenge and we have had good success, with students qualifying for follow on rounds as well as the British Mathematical Olympiad. In the Lower School our more able students enter the Intermediate Maths Challenge and are often successful in qualifying for follow on rounds and individual year group Maths Olympiads. Internally we run and annual House Maths Challenge for both Upper and Lower School. These often draw a large crowd and provide a rich source of academic competition.

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