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Giving your students the opportunity to study Core Maths can provide a wide range of benefits for them and your mathematics department.

They raise skill levels in using and applying mathematics through developing problem-solving skills in realistic contexts. These skills are valuable whatever further study, training or employment students progress to. All students should in future have the opportunity to study Core Maths in addition to other post-16 courses

The Royal Society and British Academy Joint statement on Core Maths qualifications, January 2022

Building confidence in mathematics and statistics

Core Maths develops the mathematical skills students gained at GCSE. It focuses on using and applying maths to solve problems drawn from other subjects, work, and real life. The Core Maths course includes new content such as statistics, financial maths and using algebra.

Help with other subjects

Many sixth-form courses include mathematical content. Assessment of mathematical skills is included in a third of all non-maths A levels (see this DfE document for details). For example, 10% of the marks across the A level Psychology question papers assess mathematical skills at Higher Tier GCSE level. Similarly, T-levels and other vocational courses have considerable maths content. Studying maths alongside other subjects will help students to achieve better results.

Studying Core Maths gave me a much better foundation to complete my A level Biology course, particularly the statistics-based maths and, of course, ultimately my performance in that subject brought me to Bath. In relation to my degree now, I am studying a unit called Research and Study Skills which underpins the entire course. In this unit, we have to study statistical tests of which I already have a good baseline understanding, because of Core Maths. This is particularly beneficial as I feel more at ease and more confident when we have to study these concepts, allowing me to focus more on other areas that require more development for me personally.

First year Health & Exercise Science student, University of Bath

Developing awareness and increasing take-up of Core Maths

The School of Education, University of Leeds produced a series of briefings and videos to communicate the findings of their research into the impact of Core Maths.

Progression to degree study

Core Maths is looked upon favourably by many universities when they are considering applications for degree study. They recognise the transferable skills and knowledge that students gain through studying Core Maths. It offers valuable preparation for the quantitative skills students will need for subjects for which AS/A Mathematics is not required such as psychology, geography, business-related courses, sports and social sciences, and the life sciences.

In terms of UCAS tariff points, Core Maths has the same number points as an AS level qualification and therefore contributes to the overall UCAS points required for university admissions.

Some universities have shown their recognition for Core Maths by making alternative offers for students who have taken Core Maths, alongside other qualifications, reducing the grades required for entry to some of their degree courses.

A number of university courses, such as medicine and teaching, require applicants to take an additional admissions test with some mathematical content. Studying Core Maths will help students maintain their mathematical skills and help them with these tests.

Core Maths – What’s is all about

Hear from young people about the benefits they have experienced from studying Core Maths in the Core Maths – what’s it all about video.

The Core Maths – what’s it all about? video is part of our WHY MATHS? collection. In this collection, you will find a set of seven short videos, all under four minutes, featuring over 30 young people discussing their experiences of studying Post 16 maths.

These videos are specifically designed to showcase the relevance and practical applications of maths and to inspire students in Years 9-11 to pursue further study beyond GCSE. They’re perfect for playing during class or assembly.

We have also created an eighth video which is a compilation of the seven short videos with additional information on Post 16 maths qualifications. You may find this useful to play at events like Open Evenings.

Employability and life skills

Studying Core Maths helps students to develop important skills through using and applying maths to solve meaningful and real-life problems. Students develop data handling and critical analysis skills. Courses cover financial maths, including working with exchange rates, interest rates and taxation, and the use of spreadsheets for optimisation and cost-benefit analysis.

The AMSP has produced several videos that highlight how mathematics is used in a range of careers, Where Maths Meets the World of Work. The interview with Matteo demonstrates the importance of data literacy and critical analysis in making sense of the media and political arguments.

Many employers use numeracy tests as part of the application process. Studying maths beyond GCSE helps keep mathematical skills fresh, which can help students to perform better in such tests.

Developing maths teaching

Your teachers may not have experience of teaching Core Maths, but it is likely that many would welcome the opportunity to do so and develop their skills.  Teachers of Core Maths have reported that the new approaches, such as contextualised problem-solving, that they have developed in teaching Core Maths have influenced the way mathematics is taught in KS3 and KS4, making mathematics more engaging and relevant to students.

…from a teacher’s point of view, Core Maths is rich with opportunities to discuss topics like social justice, environmental impact, and finance among others, nurturing informed individuals.

Core Maths teacher at an FE college

The AMSP offers a wide range of professional development to help schools/colleges to set up Core Maths, developing your teachers’ subject knowledge and pedagogical skills, including support for teachers of other quantitative subjects, who may be interested in teaching Core Maths. Evidence suggests that teachers who participate in subject-specific continuing professional development courses are re-energised and have an increased commitment to remaining in the profession.

Further reading and information

If you would like to speak to a member of the AMSP team about support for teaching Core Maths in your school/college then please contact us at [email protected].

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