What is Core Maths?

Core Maths is a qualification for students who want to keep up their valuable mathematics skills but are not planning to take AS or A level mathematics.

At the end of the two-year course, students will come out with a Level 3 qualification – with equivalent UCAS points to an AS level. The qualification is assessed by final examination, but some courses offer the option of submitting a portfolio of coursework.


Who is it for?

The Core Maths qualification is for students who have passed GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 or above but have decided not to study A Level mathematics. The qualification strengthens students' existing skills and focuses on applying mathematics to solve problems relevant to everyday life.

The qualification is equivalent to an AS Level in terms of UCAS points. 

How is Core Maths taught? 

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

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. 

Who is currently teaching Core Maths?

The first Core Maths examinations took place in Summer 2016 and were taken by around 500 schools, sixth forms and FE colleges. The course was originally introduced in September 2014 and is now available to all schools and colleges. 


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. 


Core Maths resources

Access a range of resources and support for teaching Core Maths.

The Core Maths Support Programme is providing resources in nine categories for teaching Core Maths. These are independent of any single exam board, while relevant for all the proposed Core Maths qualifications. 

Browse resources


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. 

Find out more