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This case study explores how the AMSP has helped The Minister School increase uptake in level 3 maths. With our help, level 3 maths uptake has increased significantly within the last three years. Read more on how we help achieve this below.

About Minster School

The Minster School is a 7-18 Church of England academy located in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Approximately 1,600 students attend the school, with 400 students in the sixth form. It is the Lead School for the East Midlands East Maths Hubs. It is also a National Teaching School and a National Support School.

The school offers a wide range of A level subjects, including A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics. The school was an early adopter of Core Maths and has a well-established Core Maths provision.

The Minster School

Age range: 7 – 18


A level Mathematics

A level Further Mathematics

Core Maths

What they are doing

Participation in level 3 maths courses has been consistently good in recent years. There was a drop in the number of Year 13 students taking A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics in 2018-19, but uptake in these subjects increased significantly in September 2019, from 37 to 76 for A level Mathematics and from 6 to 19 for A level Further Mathematics. Year 13 students studying a level 3 maths qualification have increased by 50% in the last three years, from 83 students in 2016-17 to 125 students in 2019-20. The proportion of female level 3 maths students in Year 13 is also well above the national average, particularly for A level Further Mathematics and Core Maths.

Year 13 students Core Maths A level Mathematics A level Further Mathematics
Male Female Male Female Male Female
2019-20 45%* 55%* 62% 38% 70% 30%
2018-19 54% 46% 62% 38% 50% 50%
2017-18 32% 68% 53% 47% 65% 35%
2016-17 40% 60% 47% 53% 60% 40%

The sustained level of recruitment to the level 3 maths courses is a result of several factors:


Helen McGregor, Curriculum Team Leader for Mathematics, and her team are passionate about promoting level 3 maths so that students develop the skills and confidence to follow their ambitions and desired career pathways.


The guidance students are given when they are making their sixth form option choices during Year 11, and the support and encouragement provided by the maths teachers help to build student confidence. This is especially important for girls, many of whom may be uncertain whether they can achieve a level 3 maths qualification. Student voice feedback has shown that girls feel supported by the department and that the maths teachers are very approachable, which has helped build girls’ confidence. This has contributed to the strong uptake by girls.

The sixth form curriculum is designed so that students can study Core Maths or the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) within an enrichment block in addition to their A level courses. The sixth form enrolment team advocates the benefits of taking Core Maths in supporting and complementing the maths within other A level courses, such as Economics, Business Studies, Biology, Geography and Psychology. The consistent levels of participation in all level 3 maths courses are a result of this long-term engagement with students in Key Stage 4 through to GCSE results day.

Professional Development

The school has benefited from a stable and experienced maths team. Everyone teaches maths up to A level. There is a commitment to improving the quality of teaching in the maths department. All teachers benefit from a range of ongoing development opportunities as part of an embedded internal programme and also through the Maths Hub and the AMSP. NQTs are well supported, with a clear progression into teaching level 3 maths. As the Lead School for the East Midlands East Maths Hub, many of the staff are involved in Maths Hubs Work Groups, such as Mathematical Thinking for GCSE, Secondary Teaching for Mastery, and Developing Working Partnerships with ITT providers. Maths staff have taken part in various AMSP professional development courses.

Level 3 maths courses offered

YearCoursesTeaching time per weekGCSE grade requirements
12 A level Mathematics4 hours GCSE Mathematics grade 6 or above
12A level Further Mathematics4 hoursGCSE Mathematics grade 6 or above
12Core Maths2 hoursGCSE Mathematics grade 5 or above
13A level Mathematics4 hours
13A level Further Mathematics4 hours
13A level Statistics1.5 hoursSince September 2019, this course has been delivered in one year, so there is no course for Year 13 students.

Curriculum Structure

Students following an A level route typically take three A levels during Years 12 and 13. Further Mathematics can be taken as a fourth A level by some students.

Core Maths has been taught as a two-year course, but since September 2019, this course has been delivered in one year in Year 12, with students choosing between Core Maths and the EPQ as part of the Year 12 enrichment programme. Students can then concentrate on their three A level subjects in Year 13.

Find out more about A level Mathematics click here. To find out more about Core Maths click here.

More advice

The following resources and pages offer further advice about increasing participation in level 3 maths and teaching Core Maths:

Core Maths factsheet


Further Mathematics Factsheet


Supporting your students’ transition to advanced maths page


Strategies for offering Core Maths page


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