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A Winter Core Maths Conference took place in Birmingham on Friday 31 January 2020, at which a number of experienced, new and future teachers of Core Maths came together to consider and discuss best practice for delivering Core Maths.

The first session looked at how best to deal with real-life data, analyzing graphs and charts, and unpicking the story behind the numbers and critically analyzing whether the graphs had been produced without bias. Working hours and other related data of teachers, nurses and police officers was looked at, and we concluded that it was good to be a teacher after all!

The second session took a deeper look at questions on exam papers, judging the proportion of questions that are given in personal, occupational, scientific or societal context, or whether there was no context at all. We noted that the amount of context in GCSE papers compared to the amount in Core Maths papers (that we looked at) rose from just 40% to 98%, demonstrating how important Core Maths is for a more rounded mathematical education. This session also analysed questions that students had struggled with, determining what had been misunderstood and how we can put this right moving forwards.

The final session included talks from lecturers of Geography and Economics from the University of Bristol. Both speakers highlighted the importance of the application of maths within their fields of study, and how Core Maths gives insight into the skills that are necessary for studying such courses, which GCSE Mathematics does not. An economics course is now being written, which will not require applicants to have studied A level Mathematics, and will instead rely on the skills and knowledge gained from doing a Core Maths qualification.

One of our Live Online Professional Development (LOPD) courses, Core Maths common topics, is starting on Monday 11 May 2020. All teachers working in a state-funded school or college in England are eligible to apply for a full reimbursement of the course fee. Please visit the AMSP website if you are interested in this course.

By Tom Carpenter

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