Paul Glaister

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All students who have achieved a pass in GCSE Mathematics should strongly consider taking either AS or A level Mathematics or Core Maths, depending on their interests, future study options and career intentions.

Core Maths qualifications are a suite of new Level 3 qualifications for students in post-16 education. Core Maths courses are aimed at students who have passed GCSE mathematics at grade C or above but who are not taking A or AS level mathematics. The qualifications will help students retain, deepen and extend their mathematical skills and understanding through the use of meaningful and relevant problems, preparing young people for university, employment and life.Core Maths is ideal for a wide range of students progressing to education courses with distinct mathematical or statistical elements such as psychology, geography, business and management, sociology, health sciences, biology, education and IT.

The government’s aim is that by 2020 the vast majority of students will continue to study some form of mathematics as part of their post 16 education:

"In most other advanced economies, the study of maths is the norm for students within their 16 to 19 education. Students who have already achieved GCSE A*- C should be encouraged to study maths at level 3 in the light of the value placed on this by employers and HE institutions.

Awarding organisations have introduced new ‘core maths’ qualifications at level 3 which will build on GCSE study. The focus of these is on problem solving, reasoning and the practical application of mathematics and statistics. These new qualifications have been designed with the support and help of employers and universities and suit students with a range of pass grades at GCSE maths."Department for Education (DfE) advice for education providers on the planning and delivery of 16 to 19 study programmes (January 2016).

HM Treasury Budget Statement March 2016 - support for working people: Education

Professor Sir Adrian Smith will review the case for how to improve the study of maths from 16 to 18, to ensure the future workforce is skilled and competitive, including looking at case and feasibility for more or all students continuing to study maths to 18, in the longer term. The review will report during 2016.

Building our Industrial Strategy

Pillar 2. Developing skills - we must help young people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills an numeracy; and by raising skill levels in lagging areas.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith's review of post-16 mathematics has identified that one factor contributing to the shortage of STEM skills is the take up of advanced mathematics qualifications, including A level mathematics, further mathematics and core mathematics [Core Maths].