Lily Tang-Gentile, AC for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Three enrichment mornings ran across the East of England in June, aiming to introduce students to the idea of taking the increasingly popular level 3 Core Maths qualifications after GCSE. The events were hosted by Saffron Walden County High School, Abbey College in Ramsey and the Astrea Academy Trust (Longsands, Ernulf and St Ivo).
Students had a taste of the reality of payday loans and the maths behind different voting systems, as well as the usefulness of the Fermi estimation. The payday loan workshop was judged to be very useful and relevant. Many students recognised the danger of adverts shown in TV and social media about the ‘easy money’ that you can get in 60 seconds. They left fully understanding the consequences behind payment delays or the lack of repayments. Students had the opportunity to apply the maths knowledge they have learnt in GCSE lessons in real life contexts. Voting systems, despite it not sounding very mathematical, have a lot of maths behind the process of deciding on a winner in a competition/election. Different weighting in scores and positive/negative scoring will often produce a different winner. Our final workshop explored the usefulness of estimation and problem-solving skills, as it is one of the common skills that employers are looking for. Students have enjoyed estimating how many bathtubs would hold the liquid that one will drink in their lifetime.
We are keen on doing more sessions in autumn term with schools who might be interested in getting their Year 9 or Year 10 thinking about doing more maths post-16, especially if they are considering other options to A level Maths. Please get in touch with your Area Coordinators for more information.