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The Sixth Form Bolton was an early adopter of Core Maths and has strongly promoted the course in the last few years. As a result, over 200 students studying Core Maths have gained excellent results irrespective of prior attainment. For students studying a combination of some courses without A level Mathematics, Core Maths is a required course.

About The Sixth Form Bolton

The Sixth Form Bolton is in the northwest town of Bolton and has around 1200 students. It was an early adopter of Core Maths and has strongly promoted the course in the last few years. As a result, they have over 200 students studying Core Maths with excellent results for students of all prior attainment. Hannah Roberts is the Head of Mathematics, and Alasdair Staines oversees the Core Maths course.

Importance of Sharing the Core Maths Message

The key to the success of Core Maths within the college has been the massive enthusiasm and positivity that the staff have for the qualification. They believe strongly in the value of the qualification and how the content is practical to the lives of students and teachers. In promoting this message, they have gained support from teachers in other subjects, parents, and the students themselves.

Core Maths is promoted during each of the recruitment phases of the college eg open days and enrolment. As well as making it clear how useful and helpful the course is we also make a point of telling students what it isn’t! So we explain to students that there are no circle theorems, or trigonometry or the more abstract maths they might have not related to at GCSE.

Hannah Roberts 

Bolton Sixth Form College

Age Range: 16 – 18


A level Mathematics

A level Further Mathematics

Core Maths

Facilitating success in other subjects

The Sixth Form Bolton saw the value of Core Maths in enabling students to succeed in other subjects, including a significant mathematical component. This led them to make it a condition for certain course combinations to ensure that students continued studying maths and better prepare them for Higher Education courses in these areas.

The course is mandatory for students studying a combination of two subjects requiring some mathematics; sciences, accounting, economic, business etc, whilst also being open to students who want to study it out of general interest. Core Maths is such a useful qualification for our students, even one of our PE teachers was asking us why every student wasn’t doing it. In addition to learning all the really useful content of the curriculum, like the financial maths and data analysis, it has also helped our students with Uni applications.

Hannah Roberts 

Investing in Core Maths

With such a large cohort taking Core Maths, including some with a Maths GCSE of 4, The Sixth Form Bolton ensured that there was adequate teaching time, including the potential for additional support.

The students complete the course in one year, with mainly lower sixth students but also some upper sixth students. Even with a large cohort and a wide range of prior attainment (grade 4+) the college still gets 50% of students attaining a grade A or B.

Alasdair Staines  

“All students who do not study mathematics as part of their advanced programmes in accounting, computing, economics and science undertake a core mathematics qualification in their first year. This helps them secure the underpinning mathematical skills they need to cope with the demands of their courses and prepare them for higher-level study.” OFSTED report Oct 2023.

Find out more about Core Maths and the support we offer here.

More advice

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

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