A new ‘Core Maths’ A Level is due to be released in September in order to encourage progression with maths after learners leave school. The qualification will be based on ‘real life’ maths such as financial investments and population growth, and will prepare pupils for careers in business, computing, geography, manufacturing and nursing.
Also under new proposals, learners who fail GCSE Maths will be forced to retake the exam at 18. Both moves support the Government’s drive to improve the nation’s maths skills in response to statistics showing poor levels of numeracy and criticism from universities and employers that individuals can’t perform basic sums.
In the UK just one in seven school leavers continue maths to A Level. For the equivalent qualification in Japan the figure is 85% and in some countries the progression rate reaches 100%. The Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss, has stated that by 2020 the Conservative Party would like to see the majority of students studying maths until they are 18 years old. She cites the decision students make should be ‘which’ maths to take rather than ‘whether’ to take maths at all.