Employers and universities

What you need to know about the new Core Maths qualification

Core Maths, which is equivalent to an AS level in terms of UCAS points, is a qualification for students who achieve a Grade 4 or above in GCSE mathematics but have decided not to study A level mathematics.

It was introduced in 2014 by the Department for Education and forms a major part of the Government’s plan to increase participation and raise standards in mathematics education.

Currently, only around 20% of students study mathematics beyond GCSE in the UK – the lowest rate in leading developed countries in the world. The UK Government aims to ensure that by 2020, the majority of all students in post-16 education continue to study some form of mathematics.


Real life problems

Students learn through using and applying mathematics to solve problems including those 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

This equips students with practical and useful mathematics skills relevant to:

  • business needs eg analysing and evaluating data, budget management, problem-solving approaches and financial calculations
  • everyday life requirements eg preparing tax returns, applying for loans, general budgeting and managing household finances

What does Core Maths cover?

The qualification 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 are designed to provide students with the skills and confidence to tackle everyday demands they are likely to encounter in employment. 

What to do next

The Core Maths qualification will equip students with useful employment skills, making it essential for young people to be aware of Core Maths and how it can benefit them.

If you or anyone in your organisation is responsible for recruiting new apprentices and school and college leavers, please pass this information onto them. It is also important that schools and colleges in your local area are aware of the qualification so that students can be best informed when considering their post GCSE options. 

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Core Maths resources

Access a range of resources and support to learn more about Core Maths. 

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Core Maths: research and evidence

Read first-hand accounts from schools experienced in teaching Core Maths in the case studies, view Core Maths endorsements from universities, employers and more evidence on the impact of Core Maths

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Case studies

From students to teachers, the below case studies showcase a range of people's experience of Core Maths.