Core Maths is a new Level 3 course for students in post-16 education that was introduced by the Department for Education in September 2014. It forms a major part of the Government’s plan to increase participation and raise standards in mathematics education. Only 20 per cent of students study maths beyond GCSE in the UK – the lowest rate in leading developed countries in the world; in Japan, this figure is 85 per cent. This puts young people in the UK at a major disadvantage in a global job market. The UK government wants this to change and their aim is to ensure that by 2020, the vast majority of all students in post-16 education continue to study some form of maths.

The Core Maths course has been designed in association with employers, universities and professional bodies as valuable preparation for employment and further studies.

The new Core Maths qualification is being taken by students who have passed GCSE mathematics at grade 4 or above but have decided not to study A Level mathematics. The qualification is equivalent to an AS Level in terms of UCAS points.


Students learn through using and applying mathematics to solve meaningful and ‘real-life’ problems including those set in:

• Personal contexts: scenarios related to the individual, family or peer group
• Occupational contexts: scenarios related to the world of work
• Societal contexts: scenarios related to local, national or global communities
• Scientific contexts: scenarios related to the natural world, science and technology.

Importantly, this equips students with practical and useful maths skills relevant to:

• Business needs e.g. analysing and evaluating data, budget management, problem solving approaches, financial calculations etc.
• Everyday life requirements e.g. preparing tax returns, applying for loans, general budgeting and managing household fi nances, etc.

What Does Core Maths Cover?

Business Related Numeracy Skills Core Maths Students Study

The course covers:

• Statistics and algebra
• Probability and estimation
• Data analysis and modelling
• Sequences and growth
• Financial planning and management
• Problem solving approaches and techniques e.g. linear programming
• Using technology and spreadsheets

All these concepts and techniques are designed to provide students with the skills and confidence to tackle everyday demands they are likely to encounter in their working lives.


Please pass on the information about the new practical Core Maths qualification to anyone in your organisation responsible for recruiting new school and college leavers and apprentices. If any of your employees have children who are starting to consider their post GCSE subject options please make them aware of the new qualification. Not only will the course equip them with useful future employment skills but Core Maths also helps students studying other A Level subjects including: science, geography, business studies, psychology and economics. Tell your local schools and colleges that you are aware of the benefits of the new Core Maths qualification.

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