Mathematics Department  


GCE Celebrating Excellence in Mathematics

Angus Harley achieved the distinction of being the number one pupil in CCEA A-Level Mathematics this summer, despite being in the Lower 6th.  He achieved the full 600 available uniform marks and only dropped one “raw mark” across his six modules.  Angus is currently studying A2 Further Mathematics and we wait to see if he can emulate his placing in this subject too.  Everyone associated with the Mathematics Department is very proud of Angus and we wish him the very best this year.

Angus Harley with Mr Allen NEW

Angus Harley with Mr Allen




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 boys 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. The Department is well served by an experienced team of seven full time mathematics teachers and one part time teacher. They also contribute greatly in many other co-curricular areas including; rugby, rowing, swimming, CCF, football, golf, Duke of Edinburgh and fencing.   


  • To develop each boy to his maximum mathematical potential and to stimulate him 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 boy 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 boys will show tolerance and good manners towards one another,
    2. good discipline will be maintained (see Behaviour Policy),
    3. classwork and homework will be completed as required and on time (see Learning and Teaching),
    4. capable mathematicians will be developed,
    5. appropriate steps will be taken for boys 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,
    1. the Behaviour and Work Policies will be followed.


The members of the Department and their rooms are as follows:     

S4   Mr Allen – Head of Department

S1   Mr Douglas

S5   Mr Hedley

S6   Mrs Johnston / Mr Armstrong

S7   Mr O'Brien

S8   Mrs Rogers

S9   Mr Archibald

S10  Dr McIvor - Assistant Head of Department

C9   Mrs Parks

C12   Mr Macafee




When boys first enter the School in Year 8 they are put in Mathematics classes which correspond with their Houses (Dill, Jones, Kelvin, Larmour, Pirrie and Stevenson) and each class has six periods a week. 

A Year 8 class hard at work

A Year 8 class hard at work!

Year 9 follows a similar pattern with six periods a week but the classes are divided into two house groups (X - Dill, Jones, and Kelvin, Y - Larmour, Pirrie and Stevenson) and then streamed into 9MX1, 9MX2 and 9MX3 and 9MY1, 9MY2 and 9MY3.

In Year 10 boys have five periods of Mathematics a week and the classes are divided into two house groups (as above) and then streamed into 10MX1, 10MX2, 10MX3, 10MY1, 10MY2 and 10MY3.


All boys in Year 11 and Year 12 study modular GCSE Mathematics using CCEA’s examination specification.  All the modular examinations are taken at the end of Year 12. The top two classes in Year 12, around 60 pupils, take on the more challenging GCSE Further Mathematics.

In the Sixth Form the subject of Mathematics is extremely popular with over 50 boys opting to take the subject at each of the two levels, AS and A2.  There is also a small class who take A level Mathematics in one year, followed by a second and more demanding A level, Further Mathematics, in Upper Sixth. The external examination results for the Department are of a high standard and they are detailed below for the last three years.         

Maths picture

External Examination Results      

Examination results given as cumulative percentages     

GCSE Mathematics







158 26 41 75 99
2015 147 23 49 76 97
2016 150 13 44 74 99


A LEVEL Mathematics









2014 44 14 46 71 80 86 96
2015 49 27 63 80 88 98 98
2016 45 34 61 88 93 100 100
Further Mathematics









2014 3 66.7 66.7 100 100 100 100
2015 4 50 100 100 100 100 100
2015 8 75 75 88 100 100 100

Congratulations to Robert McGibbon and Andrew Ruddell who all achieved an A* in A-level Further Mathematics.

Mathematics Competitions at RBAI

The Department takes part in the annual UK Mathematical Challenge at Junior, Intermediate and Senior level. Over 81,000 pupils from across the UK participated in the UK Maths Trust Senior Challenge this year with the top 10% receiving a gold certificate, the next 20% silver and the next 30% bronze. The very best pupils were also invited to participate in the more prestigious Senior Kangaroo competition.

Pupils at RBAI were very successful, achieving 7 gold, 12 silver and 29 bronze awards in this year’s Challenge with 3 pupils being invited to sit the Senior Kangaroo paper.

Our top performing pupils included Ryan Scorer (Gold, Best in Year 13, Best in School, Qualified for Senior Kangaroo), Mark Fitzsimmons (Gold, Best in Year 14, Qualified for Senior Kangaroo), Neil McKane (Gold, Qualified for Senior Kangaroo), Panda Shuai (Gold, Best in Year 12), Cameron Irvine (Gold), Thomas Donaldson (Gold) and Daniel Murphy (Gold).

Omar Helmy Cameron Irvine Thomas Donaldson and Panda Shuai

Omar Helmy, Cameron Irvine, Thomas Donaldson and Panda Shuai

To his enormous credit, Ryan Scorer also achieved a Merit in the Senior Kangaroo competition, placing him in the top 3% of participants nationwide.

The Northern Ireland section of the UKMT Senior Team Mathematical Challenge took place at Rockport School, Holywood on Friday 14th November. This competition comprises three rounds of very difficult mathematics problems and requires a great deal of knowledge and teamwork. The team of Cameron Irvine, Thomas Donaldson, Omar Helmy and Panda Shuai finished in 3rd place behind Down High School in second and Friends’ School Lisburn in first. Congratulations to the team on doing RBAI proud.


The Maths Department uses homeworks on to assess each pupils progress as he goes through the year.  Each pupil is given an individual username and password.  Parents/Guardians can click on My Results to see all of the homeworks that their son/ward has completed and to what level he has completed them.  A simple traffic light system is used; a green light is for those achieving 70% or higher followed by amber which is between 40% and 70% and red which indicates below 40%.  We believe that the green light should be everyone’s target to prove they understand the mathematical concepts recently covered.  If a topic is proving difficult then a pupil can ask any member of the Maths Department for help.

Other useful websites

For careers in Maths:

For games/activities: