The Mathematical Association fully supports the ambition to significantly increase the proportion of young people in England who study mathematics beyond the age of 16. Disappointingly, only one quarter of learners with a GCSE Mathematics standard pass or better (grades 4 to 9) choose to study a post16 mathematics course and this represents an unusually low participation rate compared to other jurisdictions with successful economies.
Although there is considerable scope for growth, we recognise that A level mathematics, A level further mathematics and A level statistics may not meet the needs of some learners, particularly those with lower GCSE Mathematics grades. Core Maths qualifications can be provided alongside any combination of Level 3 courses and attract useful UCAS points for university entry. They may support learner progress with the quantitative elements of a broad range of subjects including, but not limited to, Business, Economics, Sports Science, PE, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Environmental Science and Health & Social Care. They are valuable qualifications in their own right because they enable learners to deepen their mathematical understanding and develop and embed the transferable skills of reasoning and problem solving, preparing them for the mathematical demands of further study, employment and life.
We appreciate the steps already taken by the Government to encourage schools and colleges to offer Core Maths. Teaching resources and professional development events are provided by the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme, a financial incentive is available through the Advanced Mathematics Premium and a Level 3 Mathematics accountability measure is published annually. Now that Core Maths qualifications are well established, we believe there should be an expectation that schools and colleges promote them as an integral part of their post 16 curriculums. Universities should be encouraged to explicitly endorse Core Maths by mentioning these qualifications positively in their prospectuses and, where appropriate, by making preferential offers. More could be done to raise public awareness of the potential for these qualifications to improve the mathematical skills of the general workforce. With this in mind, we welcome the inclusion of Core Maths on the list of Level 3 subjects that may be studied without charge by eligible adult learners.