Strategies for offering AS/A level Further Mathematics
Why offer Further Mathematics?
The most important reason to offer Further Mathematics is to help your students realise their aspirations. It’s particularly valuable for students who intend to take a degree with a high level of mathematical content, such as Maths, Science, Engineering, Computer Science, or Economics, and can support admission to these courses at some more selective universities. Further Mathematics is an essential requirement for Mathematics courses at many leading universities.
Offering Further Mathematics can also benefit your school/college. It can help you to attract and retain students and teaching staff and there are also financial incentives.
If you can’t offer the full A level in Further Mathematics in-house, it is well worth considering offering the AS. As well as introducing students to topics such a matrices and complex numbers, which are very useful for many degree courses, it improves mathematical fluency, and often helps students to improve their A level Mathematics grade.
Strategies for offering Further Mathematics
There are many ways of offering AS/A level Further Mathematics. It doesn’t necessarily need to be as a fully-timetabled class. Your AMSP Area Coordinator can advise you on a wide range of options including:
- teaching a small group of students on a reduced timetable
- combining students from two or more schools/colleges to form a viable class
- using the Further Mathematics Videos to support your teaching
- sharing teaching between your school/college and a local AMSP tutor
- arranging for the AMSP to provide all of the tuition
- offering AS for Year 13 students, either in their own class or combined with Year 12 students
- offering AS over 2 years, starting in the January of Year 12 - this is ideal for Year 12 A level Mathematics students who find they want to study more maths
Review your policy on A level subject options
The AMSP strongly encourages you to enable A level Further Mathematics to be taken as fourth A level, even if your students are usually only permitted to take three A levels.
Taking Mathematics and Further Mathematics as two of four A levels works well for many students due to the complementary nature of the subjects, and it’s also common for Further Mathematics students to achieve higher grades in A level Mathematics as a result of the extra time spent studying maths. A further advantage of taking Further Mathematics as a fourth subject is that if a student finds it too challenging they can just complete AS Further Mathematics. This means that they can still complete three full A levels.
The Large Programme Uplift has been introduced as additional funding available for schools and colleges with students taking four A levels.
Although some students take A level Further Mathematics as part of a three subject programme, this can narrow the university courses they can apply for, and if they find A level Further Mathematics too challenging, they may not be able to complete three full A levels.
If you can’t offer the full A level in Further Mathematics then considering offering the AS, either over two years or in Year 13. It’s co-teachable with the first half of A level Mathematics. This means that centres offering A level Mathematics should be able to accommodate AS Further Mathematics students in their existing classes.
Preferably, all students who achieve grade 5 or higher should be able to access AS/A level Mathematics, and those who achieve grade 6 or higher should be able to access AS/A level Further Mathematics.
How can the AMSP help you to set up your provision?
If your school/college doesn’t currently offer AS/A level Further Mathematics, the AMSP can provide you with a wide range of support to help you to establish it:
- advice and guidance on strategies, and practical support to help develop your provision from your AMSP Area Coordinator
- a flexible range of courses for teachers to develop the pedagogy and subject knowledge to teach AS/A level Further Mathematics effectively
- resources to support teaching and learning
- flexible forms of tuition
- information and materials to help you to promote Further Mathematics to prospective students and their parents/carers
Additional support is available to schools and colleges located in AMSP Priority Areas.