Students, parents and carers

What is Core Maths?

Core Maths is a qualification for students who achieve a Grade 4 or above in GCSE mathematics. The qualification is designed to prepare students for the mathematical demands of further study and employment.

It is part of the Government's plan to increase participation in mathematics post-16, helping to raise the UK's mathematical standards. The ambition is for the majority of students to continue studying mathematics until the age of 18 by 2020.

Why Core Maths?

Currently, only around 20% of students study mathematics beyond GCSE in the UK – the lowest rate in leading developed countries in the world. 

According to the Higher Education STEM project, many students arrive at university with unrealistic expectations of the mathematical and statistical demands of their subjects, leading to a lack of confidence and anxiety by the students. 

The Core Maths qualification has been introduced to address these issues and, importantly, the qualification also counts towards the Level 3 mathematics achievement measure in 2017 Performance Tables. 

Designed to maintain and develop real-life mathematics skills, what students study can be applied on a day-to-day basis whether in further study or employment. Most courses will include a financial mathematics element and can help with other A level subjects, including science, geography, business studies, economics and psychology.

The skills developed in the study of mathematics are increasingly important in the workplace and in higher education. Most students who study mathematics after GCSE improve their career choices and increase their earning potential.


Will it be recognised by universities and employers?

Even though Core Maths is a new qualification, several universities have already come out in strong support of it. Employers from a range of sectors are also firmly behind the qualification. Many roles in the workplace require high levels of budget management and problem-solving skills and Core Maths will be a useful tool in equipping you with these skills. 

Points (old tariff)
Points (new tariff)
A 60 20
B 50 16
C 40 12
D 30 10
E 20 6


How is Core Maths taught?

Core Maths builds on GCSE mathematics with a particular focus on problem-solving skills. Students will consider and tackle mathematics in meaningful contexts, including financial applications and statistical ideas that can support work in other subjects they will be studying.

Although the course is mainly led by mathematics teachers, the involvement of other subject specialists is welcomed to ensure students appreciate the applications of mathematics in different subjects. 


"Students in social sciences, business, psychology, sciences, and health sciences who are not taking A/AS Level mathematics may find the Core Maths element useful in preparing for university study where a working application of maths or statistics may be required." - Aston University statement

Core Maths resources

Access a range of teaching 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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