Head of Maths (ALT)

Mrs Helen Brice

Counting is a symbolic process employed only by man, the sole symbol-creating animal.

R.L. Wilder


Morgan‘s and Russell’s views of mathematics vividly portray why, for some, this is a subject that confuses, has little relevance and remains beyond their grasp. For Einstein and others, however, it is a dynamic subject that captures their imagination and contributes to their understanding of the machinery of the universe. One would hope that most of our pupils lie between these two extremes.

What then, is our position as teachers? Wilder reasoned that man’s desire to symbolise necessitated the growth of a hierarchical structure capable of satisfying his needs. So it looks as if we’re stuck with mathematics. The problem is, how to teach it?

Cranleigh Prep is blessed with a very successful Department staffed by enthusiastic and dedicated teachers who, in their interactions with each other and with their pupils, show kindness, tolerance, courtesy and respect, thus embodying the principles of the School’s mission statement.

Mathematics is a subject in which we never know what we are talking about nor whether what we are saying is true. Bertrand Russell

At the end of their time here, we hope that our pupils will have come to realise the relevance and importance of the subject; that in Mathematics, results are based on deductive reasoning, so that they are self-consistent and free from contradictions. Further, they will have been exposed to the history and development of Mathematics and will have had opportunities to use the subject confidently in as wide a variety of circumstances as possible, thus developing individual talents and fulfilling their potential. And finally that they may have begun to glimpse, as did Einstein, that it is the astounding usefulness of the useless that has arisen as a result of intellectual curiosity that makes this subject so pursuable.


  • To emphasise the delight and beauty of the subject and, to remove the dread sometimes associated with it.
  • To encourage and inspire pupils to study the subject not only for its role when applied to other disciplines but also as an art or science in its own right.
  • To ensure that all pupils are able to fulfil their potential as mathematicians and use the skills they develop in a wide variety of contexts, as well as understanding what the learning of Mathematics can do for their mental development.
  • To run a curriculum covering the widest possible range of mathematical topics at levels of understanding appropriate to the ability of the pupils.
  • To teach to the ISEB Mathematics Syllabus and beyond so that the majority may reach the highest possible level in the Common Entrance (CE) Examination in Mathematics, at the end of Form 6.
  • To prepare the most able pupils for Scholarship Examinations to a variety of Independent Senior Schools.
  • To encourage and prepare pupils for entry into National Competitions such as the Primary Mathematics Challenge (PMC), the Final of the Primary Mathematics Challenge, the UK Junior Mathematical Challenge (JMC), the UK Junior Mathematics Kangaroo (JMK), the UK Junior Mathematical Olympiad (JMO) and the UK Team Mathematical Challenge as well as other Maths competitions organised by nearby schools.

Lower School (Forms 1 & 2)

Pupils are taught by their form tutors. There is a great emphasis on developing basic maths skills, such as times tables and remembering basic addition and subtraction facts, which benefits the children’s mental arithmetic agility. We encourage the use of correct mathematical language from an early age so that children are able to reason and justify using the correct terminology.

Middle School (Forms 3 & 4)

Pupils are taught by Maths specialists and are arranged into sets. Pupils begin to explore the links between fraction, decimal and percentage and learn how to apply their understanding of calculating with integers to fractions and decimals.

In Form 4 children then begin to make their first formal forays into the exciting world of algebra. We follow the ISEB Mathematics Syllabus which prepares children for Common Entrance Examinations at 11+ and is in line with the National Curriculum.

Upper School (Forms 5 & 6)

Pupils are taught by Maths specialists and are arranged into sets. Pupils continue to develop their understanding of number, algebra, shape, space and measure and data handling and learn to apply these to a problem in a variety of different contexts.

We follow the ISEB Mathematics Syllabus which prepares children for Common Entrance Examinations at 13+ and scholarship entrance examinations to a variety of senior schools which use or set exams that are similar to the Common Academic Scholarship Examination at 13+, both are in line with the National Curriculum.


I have no special talent, l am only passionately curious.

Albert Einstein

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