Core Maths

Core Maths qualifications

Core Maths qualifications are designed specifically to enable students to develop the quantitative skills they need to use maths and statistics with confidence in real life contexts. These skills are crucial to support other subjects students are studying, especially the social sciences, Economics, and business and finance-related disciplines. They will also be hugely valuable for students’ future studies, whether academic or vocational, and the workplace. The quantitative skills students learn in Core Maths will also enhance their understanding the world more generally. For example, as well as being the key to understanding loans and investments, the maths of exponential growth explains the rapid spread of pandemics.

MEI recommends that all students with GCSE Mathematics grade 4 or better, who do not plan to take AS or A level Mathematics, take Core Maths.

The first Core Maths examinations took place in 2016 with around 3,000 candidates. In 2020 four times as many, around 12,000, entered for Core Maths. Many schools and colleges now offer students the opportunity to take Core Maths and the number is growing rapidly.

Core Maths is key to increasing mathematical literacy across our society. This is an important national priority and three important factors are in place to support increased participation:

  1. The Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP) provides professional development for teachers, extensive teaching and learning resources, and expert practical advice, all free of charge, to enable schools and colleges to introduce and teach Core Maths effectively.
  2. Additional government funding is available through the Advanced Mathematics Premium to help schools and colleges make Core Maths available to their students.
  3. Universities are beginning to recognise the value of Core Maths, with some leading universities now making alternative admissions offers to students with Core Maths qualifications.

Core Maths is even more important for academic year 2020-21. The disruption to education caused by the Coronavirus lockdown this summer means many students will feel less confident about maths. Taking Core Maths alongside their other subjects will help them tackle the quantitative aspects of all their courses.

Core Maths entries and results

MEI has produced this summary of the most recent entry numbers and results for Core Maths qualifications.

Free resources suitable for all Core Maths courses

Comprehensive teaching and learning resources suitable for all Core Maths qualifications are available free of charge to schools and colleges.

Core Maths Professional Development

The Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP), which is managed by MEI, offers a range of professional development for teachers of all Core Maths specifications.

Teaching Core Maths example lessons

Taster questions for Core Maths

The questions on these postcards can be used as starter questions in Core Maths lessons or to provide students in year 11 with a taster of Core Maths.

Using video clips to stimulate mathematical thinking
Blog for the OCR website by Terry Dawson, Curriculum Developer for MEI