New maths qualifications will boost numbers studying key subject to age 18

The Department for Education has published plans for ensuring that all young people in England continue with maths until they are 18. There will be new qualifications for those who get at least a grade C in GCSE maths but do not continue with maths A-level. These core maths courses will include topics like statistics, probability, advanced calculation and modelling, and will, says the governent, develop students’ mathematical thinking and problem solving skills.

National Numeracy has welcomed this development. Chief executive, Mike Ellicock, said:

"National Numeracy believes that everybody needs to be confident and competent in using numbers and thinking mathematically in everyday life and so strongly supports the concept of a ‘core maths’ qualification for all those students who are not taking Maths A or AS Level.

"We welcome this report from ACME as a step in the right direction and in particular we approve of its focus on developing confidence and applying maths competently and fluently in a variety of situations and contexts. The report contains an excellent, well-defined list of outcomes for students, which includes reference to confidence and positive attitudes. We look forward to the development of courses that deliver these outcomes, that take real-life problems as their starting point and that address areas such as financial capability that are crucial for all young people."

The government has already announced changes to the maths GCSE and plans for those teenagers who do not achieve at least a grade C to continue with some form of maths, possibly re-taking GCSE. National Numeracy is less convinced by this aspect of the government's plans and believes that GCSE in its current or revised form does not fully meet the needs of many students - read our full response to the consultation.

Read more via the Department for Education.