The Mathematics Department has been considered for a long time one of the leading departments in the School and one with a reputation for excellence. The staff in the Department have high expectations and are committed to supporting all pupils to ensure that they achieve their full potential. This is very much the case across the ability range, and the high standards are reflected in the results achieved in public examinations.


  • To develop each pupil to his/her maximum mathematical potential and to stimulate him/her to enjoy the attainment of mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills,
  1. a balanced and stimulating range of courses will be offered at all levels,
  2. the ability to work independently and with others will be encouraged,
  3. numeracy and literacy will be priorities.
  • To provide each pupil with the requisite knowledge and skills for examination success and for everyday life,
  1. the curriculum will cover statutory and any additional appropriate requirements,
  2. use of ICT will be integral to learning and teaching.
  • To provide and promote the conditions in which each pupil can develop as an individual, at all times,
  1. staff and pupils will show tolerance and good manners towards one another,
  2. good discipline will be maintained
  3. classwork and homework will be completed as required and on time
  4. capable mathematicians will be developed,
  5. appropriate steps will be taken to support pupils with a Statement of Special Needs
  • To prepare pupils to become responsible and active members of society, as appropriate,
    1. the subject will be placed in its wider and historical context,
    2. the subject’s use and relevance in today’s world will be demonstrated.
  • To develop a close relationship between home and school

Recent News

Civilisation Belfast Event         9/10/15

On Friday 9th October Mrs M Garvey along with 2, Yr 14 pupils, Eoghan Hagan and Niamh Ward attended the Civilisation Belfast 2015 event hosted by the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast.

The day began with a very welcome cooked breakfast (as we had been on the road since before 7.30 am) in the David Weir building Queen’s University; followed by a taster lecture for A Level students from the Institute of Civil Engineering entitled “Civil Engineers Shaping the World”.  Meanwhile the teachers in attendance had an informal chat with lecturers within the faculty where we were informed that there is a gross shortage in N.I. of Civil Engineering graduates now and for the foreseeable future – 10 years minimum.

Head Boy Eoghan Hagan get a insight into a major Engineering project

Head Boy Eoghan Hagan get a insight into a major Engineering project

The Civil Engineering faculty is currently taking in 75 first year students but wish to recruit more on an annual basis.  Entry requirements for BEng Hons are BBB at A Level including Maths and at least one of Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Geography, ICT, Physics or Software Systems Development, Technology and Design or Double Award Applied Science.  There are 190 first years in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering and approximately 60 in Electrical Engineering.  As a result Queen’s Civil Engineering graduates are snapped up by employers from the moment of graduation which is resulting in no students going into research, a major cause for concern within the faculty.

After the lecture we set out on the road to the NI Water Terminal Pumping Station, Duncrue where a representative from Atkins Global gave an Augmented Reality project demonstration which allows you to see from 2D plans, what an engineering project will look like in reality, i.e. in 3D.
The Dynamic Object facility allows the client to visualise from day one what a project will look like.  Using the Robot Build Tool, the client can see the project being built and developed from planning through to end stages.
Robot drawings can be developed to gain a price for the project and information and features can be fed in via the video desktop tool which pops out as a model.  This process helps the implications of design, the idea being to reduce time of construction planning and drawing and enable a project to get underway much faster.  See website
Next stage was a visit to the Belfast Sewer project on the Duncrue site, a Morgan Farrans joint venture completed in 2010 at a cost of £130 million, the single largest contract ever awarded by Northern Ireland Water.
The Belfast Sewer project provides the city of Belfast with modern flood protection standards and sustainability improves the quality of the River Lagan and its tributaries via the management of unsatisfactory combined sewer overflows which discharge to the city’s watersources.  Excess storm water flows are now conveyed via a new 10km tunnelled storm water sewer system under Belfast City to the Belfast Wastewater Treatment works.
Shafts of up to 35m deep have been installed for construction maintenance access and are connected to sewer overflows each 6 to 12m in diameter.  A 38m diameter, 40m deep Terminal pumping station and 10 new major combined sewer overflow connections have also been installed.

Key benefits have been closures of main key combined sewer overflows and prevention of spills into Belfast Rivers, significant reduction in pollutant load to the River Lagan and its tributaries and flood protection to 1 in a 30 year return period.
During the visit all had the opportunity to see the filtering system, the pumping station, view the entrance to the 10 km tunnelled storm water sewer system and witness the end product sludge which in incinerated.

Next stop on our travels was the Titanic Quarters near the Big Fish where we witnessed traffic flow, by road, rail, river and the new bike hire system which is aimed at keeping traffic of all forms on the move around Belfast.  We saw at first hand the new pedestrian bridge across the Lagan and heard from the Lagan Water and Rivers Agency representative about the Lagan Weir, the process by which the River Lagan is prevented from draining (when the tide in Belfast Lough goes out) by means of a five gate, 4 pillared system which is controlled by the River Agency.  We had the opportunity to walk across the new curved pedestrian bridge no mean feat of engineering and from there underneath the Lagan River by means of an underground tunnel; a rare experience.
Lunch was provided at AECOM for students, while teachers had the pleasure of dining in Deane’s Restaurant nearby, a truly delightful and much welcomed experience.
In the afternoon we visited Victoria Square – The Floating Shopping Centre and heard from Farrans Contracts about the challenges of their £155million project, not least about the challenge of building on very poor ground conditions, the 19 month timescale, planning constraints and the required integration with other contracts namely the Belfast Sewers project and Belfast Streets Ahead project. Parts of the contract involved subcontracting work to companies from Scotland, Norway, Poland, Germany, Holland, France and England such was the challenge of this construction.  We had the opportunity to climb to the 35m diameter glass Dome at the top and take in the extraordinary view of the whole of Belfast City.  The dome itself is no mean feat of construction being 35m in diameter and consisting of glazed panels on a latticed steel framework.

Mrs M Garvey, Eoghan Hagan and Niamh Ward

Mrs M Garvey, Eoghan Hagan and Niamh Ward

From here we proceeded to Windsor Park and had a guided tour from O’Hare and McGovern contractors of the current work site.  The complete stadium is being rebuilt to include a 3 tiered structure with overhanging roof coverage, based on steel framework at a cost of £30 million.  There will be corporate quarters and a separate stand for media coverage of games.  A new drainage system with underground heating has been installed beneath the astroturf to enable use in all weathers. This stadium, together with the accompanying Olympia Leisure Centre, are due for completion within the next year and will offer facilities for sport never before available in Northern Ireland.
The last stop of the day was back to the David Weir building, where tired and weary, we were welcomed to Pizza and drinks and the students had opportunities to meet potential employers before heading homewards after what was a really educational, worthwhile and action packed day.


In Key Stage 3 pupils have 6 periods of mathematics each week.


In Key Stage 4 the pupils are streamed to ensure each child is working at the appropriate level. All pupils in Year 11 and Year 12 study modular GCSE Mathematics using CCEA’s examination specification. The vast majority of pupils study Higher level maths and the top class takes on the more challenging GCSE Additional Mathematics.



In the Sixth Form the subject of Mathematics is extremely popular with around 20 pupils  each year choosing to study it. In year 13 pupils complete Edexcel’s C1, C2 and S1 modules.  In year 14 Pupils undertake study for Edexcel’s C3, C4 and M1 modules.


Pupils at St Joseph’s regularly participate in external mathematics competitions.

Year 12 pupils Participating in the LASCO maths quiz Feburary 2014

Year 12 pupils Participating in the LASCO maths quiz Feburary 2014

Lasco 1