• Curriculum Structure
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • College Option
  • Our Curriculum

    At Exeter Mathematics School we give you the freedom and stimulus to go further than the standard exam-led A level curriculum. Our exceptional teachers support you to explore the incredible creativity and excitement of maths, physics and computing and every student gets to take the Exeter Maths Certificate. This is the big highlight of our course:  an opportunity to collaborate and engage with demanding, real-life mathematics challenges set by one of our partners in academia or industry and carry out your own, in-depth research. Alongside your core subjects at EMS, you also have the opportunity to broaden your study by drawing on the wide range of courses at Exeter College nearby.

    The majority of our students progress from EMS to studying STEM subjects at top universities.  Our curriculum is designed with this in mind, with Curriculum X modules in the second year, giving you a great preparation and feel for the challenging, independent enquiry-led culture you will experience as an undergraduate.

    Curriculum Structure

    All students study A-levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, and Physics or Computer Science and take part in our extensive enrichment programme.  Students may elect to study both Physics and Computer Science or a fourth subject from those on offer at Exeter College; these options include AS levels, A levels, BTECs and enrichment courses (Extend).  See ‘College Option’ section below for further information.

    The curriculum, which is timetabled fortnightly, consists of:

    Mathematics 9 hours per week
    Physics or Computer Science (or both)* 4.5 hours per week
    Option taken at Exeter College 5 hours per week**
    Academic Tutorials 1 hour per week
    Exeter Mathematics Certificate (EMC) 1.25 hours per week
    EMC Skills 1 hour per week
    Pastoral Curriculum 1 hour per fortnight
    Inspire 1 hour per fortnight
    Extra-Curricular Lunchtimes (optional)

    Curriculum X is also available in year 13 only for up to 4.5 hours per week, depending on the number of modules students elect to study.

    *Students may elect to take both Physics and Computer Science. If this is the case, they do not take a College option.
    **This is for AS/A-level and BTEC options. The alternative, Extend, is for 90 minutes per week.

    Students sit A-level examinations at the end of year 13.  Students taking a subjects at Exeter College may sit AS examinations in that subject during the summer term of year 12 and will then have the option to continue on to A-level in year 13.  This is dependent on the subject selected.

    What can I study?

    Maths Physics Computer Science Options at Exeter College

    Mathematics & Further Mathematics

    Mathematics is taught with rigour, developing within students, insight, depth of understanding and a broad appreciation for the subject and its applications.

    Our aim is not only to prepare students thoroughly for their A-level examinations, but also to develop an in-depth understanding of mathematical principles and the logical connection between its different disciplines. We support students as they develop the confidence to tackle complex problems without a pre-defined structure or menu of options.

    We aim to ensure that the depth and breadth of EMS students’ mathematical experience will accelerate their progress as they begin their undergraduate courses.

    The Exeter Mathematics Certificate (EMC) and Inspire lectures are an integral part of the students’ mathematical experience.  See below for more details of these courses.

    A-level Mathematics and A-level Further Mathematics

    Each A-level will be assessed by examinations at the end of the course.  For A-level Mathematics these will be:

    Component 01: Pure Mathematics and Mechanics – 100 marks;
    Component 02: Pure Mathematics and Statistics – 100 marks;
    Component 03: Pure Mathematics and Comprehension – 75 marks.

    For Further Mathematics, 50% of the grade will be assessed in the paper “Core Pure”.  Students will also be assessed by examination on their chosen modules.

    All students study the same three courses in year 12

    Maths P: Pure Mathematics;
    Maths Q: Mechanics and Pure Mathematics;
    Maths R: Statistics and Pure Mathematics.

    These courses will cover the entirety of the A-level curriculum and some of the Further Mathematics curriculum, including Complex Number, Matrices and Proof.

    All students will follow the course “Maths S”.  This will review work from year 12, complete the remaining compulsory content for “Core Pure” and will also include topics that extend beyond the required curriculum.

    Students will also elect to study either one Major and one Minor unit or three Minor units from the table below.

    Major Units (13.3%)  Minor Units (16.7%) 
     Mechanics  Mechanics
     Statistics  Statistics
     Further Pure with Technology
     Numerical Methods
     Modelling with Algorithms
     Extra Pure

    Students will be prepared for, and encouraged to sit, UKMT Mathematics Challenges and University entrance papers such as STEP and MAT.

    For further details about our Mathematics and Further Mathematics curriculum, contact Claire: clairewillman@exeterms.ac.uk


    Students will have the option to take an A-level in Physics and/or Computer Science.

    Studying Physics is the process of equipping yourself with the tools not only to explain and understand the world around you, but to go wherever your imagination leads.

    Perhaps you’ll design new solar panels, make a leap in medical physics or finally unify our understanding of the four forces.

    Physics is not only important in its own right but is also an essential component of other Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology. Furthermore, it is a subject in which mathematical principles, effectively applied, are used to develop understanding and underpin progress.

    Physics is a practically taught subject through which students develop a deep understanding. They learn through logical thought and experimentation; the majority of lessons are in a specialist state-of-the-art laboratory and Practical Skills are developed throughout the course, providing opportunities to apply knowledge and develop problem solving.

    A-level Physics

    A-level Phsyics is comprised of three components:

    • Newtonian Physics
    • Electricity and the Universe
    • Light, Nuclei and options

    Each component is assessed by a written examination. To gain a Practical Endorsement with their A-level, students will also complete Required Practical tasks.

    Students will begin working towards components 1 and 2 of their final A-levels in year 12 but will not sit any external examinations.

    Students will sit all 3 A-level components in their second year.  They will build on the content of component 1 and 2 from year 12 and will also study for component 3.

    Component 3 contains some optional content; students will choose one option from:

    1. Alternating Currents
    2. Medical Physics
    3. The Physics of Sports
    4. Energy and the Environment

    Students take part in the British Olympiad, are supported in their preparation for Physics Aptitude Tests (PAT) and are encouraged to take part in team activities such as the Particle Physics Cascade and Engineering Education Scheme.

    For further details about our Physics curriculum, contact Malcolm: malcolmsimpson@exeterms.ac.uk

    Computer Science

    Students may take Computer Science as an alternative to or in addition to Physics.

    Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view and connect with the world; for example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future, with computer circuits made of genes. This leads to the question, does the natural world ‘compute’? Experimental Computer Science can be done with computers whereby we can learn more about the natural world by observing the behaviour of interacting software simulations.

    Computing is about designing new sets of instructions (algorithms) to solve new problems. In this sense Computing is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.  Many great questions lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve and this course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem solving, mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for understanding these future challenges.

    Computer Science is taught in a specialist computer room. The course is focused on programming and its applications. There are opportunities for students to use Raspberry Pis, Arduinos and other microcontrollers. Initially, students will study Python 2.7 but opportunities to work with Java, C and other languages are also integral to the course.

    Students are taught to apply mathematical techniques to solve problems systematically and will develop an appreciation for the need of rigour, clarity of communication and precision.

    Topics covered on the course include programming, data structures, algorithms, data representation, computer systems, computer organisation and architecture, communication and networking, databases, functional programming, the theory of computation, consequences of uses of computing and big data.

    A-level Computer Science

    40% on-screen examination, 40% written paper and 20% practical project.

    Students will begin working towards the completion of each module but will not sit any external examinations until year 13.

    Paper 1 and Paper 2 for A-level and coursework.

    Students will apply their knowledge to practical applications and will be encouraged to enter challenges and competitions such as the British Informatics Olympiad, Project Euler, the National Cipher Challenge and those run by the Computer Science Students’ Network.

    For further details about our Computer Science curriculum, contact Mel: meldennig@exeterms.ac.uk

    College Option

    Students who have not selected to study Physics AND Computer Science will study for one subject at Exeter College. Students may elect to study any of the AS, BTEC or A-level options available at the College , subject to timetabling, and will have the option to continue with this subject in year 13.  Alternatively, students may select to take an enrichment option from the College’s “Extend” programme; this may not result in a qualification but will broaden students’ experience.

    Exeter College is situated just a few minutes’ walk from EMS and is an outstanding provider of post-16 education. EMS students will have full access to the extensive resources and facilities of the College and will gain a richer 6th form experience by working alongside College students and staff.

    More detail about each course can be found by clicking here to open the Exeter College website.

    An overview of their Extend options is available here.

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