Core Mathematics

Contact Teacher: Miss H Coxhead, Head of Mathematics

Exam Board: AQA Mathematical Studies 1350

Why study Core Mathematics?

After studying the education systems of some of the most successful countries in the world, the government have identified a major weakness in our own system. They have realised that only around 20% of UK students study maths beyond 16. This is the lowest rate of the 24 leading developed countries in the world. In Japan, for example, around 85% of students continue with their studies beyond GCSE level. This puts our young people at a major disadvantage with our international competitors.

In today’s global marketplace, both universities and employers need to be confident that the people they are recruiting are on a par with their international counterparts when it comes to standards in mathematics.

Against this background the Department of Education has invited certain mathematically high performing schools to pilot a new exciting course based around activities that give students the chance to hone their problem solving skills. We are proud to be one of these schools.

Core Mathematics has been designed to fill this apparent gap in our education system. It is specifically designed for students who have achieved a B or C in GCSE maths as well as students with an A* and A grade who are not taking A-level maths. Core mathematics is a new high quality maths qualification that will give you the numeracy skills that you will need to compete for jobs and high earnings. In addition, it will ensure future generations are strong in maths - a subject vital to so many careers.

Course details

Core Mathematics is a two year course based on 2.5 hours per week. It is a Level 3 qualification which means it has the same number of UCAS points as an AS-level. The course includes topics such as statistics, probability, advanced calculation and modelling. It is specifically designed to develop students’ mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills. It will be quite different to GCSE maths as it will be based on activities that give you the chance to find new properties or create new ways of thinking to solve concrete problems. Most of the problems will be embedded in the context of other disciplines and the real world and so will support your work in other areas.

You will learn how to break these problems down into easy stages, how to translate them into mathematical form and how to deal with the mathematics which results.

How the course is taught and assessed

It a two-year course which is assessed by a terminal examination. There are no external examinations in Year 12.

The course is largely taught through problem solving where students extend their learning by tackling problems for which they have no prescribed or memorised rules. These problems often don’t have a “correct” solution as there may be many ways of “solving” the problem. It is then through discussion and the sharing of ideas that the students build their own learning.

These problems are carefully chosen to be problematic but engaging for our students. Classes will be varied, comprising investigations, class discussions and considerable use of appropriate IT resources - including the extensive use of a graphical calculator and commercial software. You will be set work regularly and the subject content will be assessed regularly generally through the problems set.

Entry requirements

For Core Mathematics: you are expected to have achieved at least a grade 4 in GCSE Mathematics. You cannot study Core Mathematics alongside A-level Mathematics or Further Mathematics.