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At St Barnabas College the teaching of mathematics concentrates on "hands-on" experience, with students being in control while learning. The mathematics department is committed to the development of life skills through the subject. Consequently, a practical, investigative approach to the subject is followed. The emphasis is on students discovering knowledge for themselves. They are encouraged to experiment, observe, discuss their viewpoints, and finally, to draw conclusions relating to mathematical laws. Active participation, discussion and ongoing evaluation ensure that the subject remains interesting and captivating.

The study of mathematics is developed along both academic and technical lines, ensuring that the programme is vocationally relevant and that students are able to cope well in any science-related career. Many students who enter the school at the junior level are barely literate or numerate, even after a minimum of seven years of primary schooling. An intensive and dynamic compensatory programme is implemented to ensure that students' literacy and numeracy skills are raised to a level that not only ensures success in the school's rigorous secondary programme, but also equips students with the necessary skills to succeed at science studies at the tertiary level.

From Grade 8 to Grade 9, only Core Mathematics is offered. In Grade 10 to Grade 12, the subject is offered at both Core and Literacy level. Mathematical Literacy is usually taken by those students who struggle with Core Mathematics, or who wish to follow a career that does not require Core Mathematics. Most students at St Barnabas College, however, choose to study Core Mathematics.

The quality of the school's Mathematics teaching matches the highest international standards. Since 1992, every Grade 12 student has passed Mathematics on the standard or higher grade. Graduates of the school are equipped with all the necessary skills to succeed at the study of Mathematics and the sciences at the tertiary level, and increasingly, the school's students choose to enter scientific, technical, commercial and engineering fields of study.