Head of Department

Mrs E.L. EllinBA, PGCE


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 Higher Tier paper, and is consistently a hugely popular subject at A-level with around a third of the current Upper Sixth having opted to continue their Maths studies on into the Sixth Form. In the Sixth Form pupils study the Cambridge Pre-U Maths course, with the option of the Cambridge Pre-U Further Maths course for the strongest mathematicians who wish to go much deeper into the subject.

Generic Maths PhotoExamination results are outstanding, with a consistently positive ‘value-added’ scores each year. 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 ten members of staff, forming a dedicated team who teach in a purpose-built department, which is well-equipped with computers, data projectors, visualisers and interactive whiteboards. Staff are available during priority times and study periods, giving pupils a place to come for extra support as well as extension work.


The last year has seen the Fourth form travel to Bletchley Park to learn about code breaking during the war, pupils compete in the regional Further Maths Support Programme team challenges, Sixth Form students take a scholarship session at the prep school, and around 50 pupils compete in the UKMT national competitions.