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Foundational Statement

Foundational Principle: The inherent value of each individual

Recognition of the inherent value of each individual entails recognition of their right to an education enabling them to make sense of their environment. A prerequisite for this, and indeed, for minimally adequate functioning in society, is numeracy. Any school whose aim is to prepare its students to be capable of understanding their world and equipped to change it, must at the very least ensure that they are able to count, estimate, measure and calculate.

Foundational Question: How did the world evolve to be as it is and how might it be made to evolve for the greater good?

Beyond these utilitarian aspects of mathematics, however, lies its true nature, which is essentially the study of patterns and abstract structures. Any school whose aim is to enable its students to be leading global citizens, expert analysts of their world, and initiators of change for the benefit of humanity, must not succumb to, and indeed must resist, any superficial clamour for so-called usefulness in mathematics education. The proper rationale for teaching mathematics in schools, and particularly at Scotch, surely lies elsewhere. It is that, in so doing, we are teaching boys to reason, to value logical argument, to eradicate contradictions where they exist, to identify and exploit similarities in structure, to analyse quantitative information critically, and ultimately to be adaptable and creative enough to solve a vast range of problems, both practical and theoretical, across all fields of human endeavour. These are the characteristics of history’s greatest mathematicians, and all our teaching should challenge each student to appreciate and exemplify them, to the highest level of which he is capable.