• 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 giving you a great preparation and feel for the challenging, independent enquiry-led culture you will experience as an undergraduate.

    Equally popular are our Problem Solving Classes which enable students to grapple with interesting challenges whilst developing skills and techniques in a collaborative and supportive environment.

    Our academic curriculum is built on a foundation of strong pastoral support and a Tutorial Programme designed to ensure students are able to flourish whilst at school and in years to come.

    All students, including those with SEND have access to the full curriculum.

    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.  For students applying to join EMS who wish to study a fourth subject at Exeter College, EMS will make this application on your behalf,  you just need to make a note of the subject you wish to study on your application form.

    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 45 minutes per week
    Exeter Mathematics Certificate (EMC) 1 hr 10 min per week
    EMC Skills 1 hour per week
    Pastoral Curriculum with Inspire 45 minutes per week
    Problem Solving Classes (optional) up to 1 hr 25 mins per week per subject
    Curriculum X (optional) up to 4hrs 20 min per week

    *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

    OCR B (MEI)

    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 two courses in year 12:

    Maths Alpha: Mechanics and Pure Mathematics;
    Maths Beta: Statistics and Pure Mathematics.

    These courses will cover most of the A-level Mathematics curriculum and some of the Core Further Mathematics curriculum, including Complex Number, Matrices and Proof.  Topics are often taught extending beyond the syllabus.

    All students complete the pure content for the A-level Mathematics curriculum and the Core Further Mathematics curriculum.  Topics are often taught extending beyond the syllabus.  The Core Pure work accounts for half of the Further Mathematics A-level.

    Students will also continue to study Mechanics and Statistics, completing a minor unit in each topic, each making up a sixth of their final grade.

    Finally, students elect to study either Extra Pure or Numerical Methods to complete their Further Maths course.

    MEI offer additional modules which our students do not sit, but have the opportunity to study highlights from as part of our enrichment and extension programme, curriculum X.

    Students will be prepared for, and encouraged to sit, UKMT Mathematics Challenges and University entrance papers such as STEP and MAT.  We have timetabled lesson in both year 12 and year 13, dedicated to developing problem solving and mathematical thinking beyond the requirements of A-level mathematics alone. More information about these classes can be found on the problem solving page.

    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 dedicated specialist 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 work through both AS units and two modules from A2 units 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.  More information can be found on our problem solving page.

    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.  You can read more about our Computer Science problem solving classes on this page.

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

    College Option

    Students who have not selected to study Physics AND Computer Science may 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.

    More than A-levels

    Our curriculum extends far beyond the core academic subjects outlined on this page.  Take a look at our EMC, Curriculum X, Problem Solving Classes and Tutorial Programme to fully understand the learning experience of students at EMS.

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