24 July 2017
The NCETM welcomes the announcement from the DfE of a new £16m programme to support the teaching of maths after GCSE, which includes A level Maths and Further Maths, and the new Core Maths qualifications, introduced in 2014.
The announcement was made in response to the publication of the wide-ranging review into post-16 maths by Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, and the author of a major report into school maths teaching in 2004.
The NCETM Director, Charlie Stripp, said:
I strongly welcome the new Level 3 Mathematics Support Programme announced by the DfE. As Sir Adrian’s review shows, increasing participation in all Level 3 qualifications is hugely important.
The work of the Further Maths Support Programme (FMSP) over the past 12 years has done much to increase the number of students taking AS and A Level Further Maths. Over that period numbers have risen from less than 6000 to well over 14 000. The FMSP will provide continued Further Maths support for schools and colleges until the new Level 3 programme is in place.
Core Maths has made a promising start. It was first examined last year, with a cohort of around 3000 students. It has been well received by students and teachers in the schools and colleges that have offered it so far, and numbers are growing, but are still low: around 5500 students are thought to have taken the exam this summer, compared with a potential cohort of up to a quarter of a million. The Core Maths Support Programme is being wound up at the end of this month (July 2017), so it is crucial that other measures are put in place to ensure the early momentum for Core Maths is not lost before the new Level 3 Mathematics Support Programme can start.
As well as supporting Sir Adrian’s recommendations relating to Level 3 mathematics, I also strongly support the other recommendations of the review, including those relating to supporting the provision of maths education in FE, to addressing inequalities in participation in post-16 maths education, and to addressing negative attitudes towards maths at all levels of education.
In particular, I endorse his call for a long overdue review into the current GCSE Mathematics re-sit policy.
Sir Adrian’s review is very timely. As it shows clearly, post-16 mathematics education has never been more important, both for individual success and for the success of the country as a whole. The NCETM and the Maths Hubs have a vital role to play in supporting post-16 teachers of mathematics in schools and colleges across England to implement the review’s recommendations.
Charlie Stripp is also Chief Executive of MEI: a fuller version of his response to the Smith Review is now available on the MEI website.