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An alternative to A-level maths

Professor Chris Llewellyn Smith says that, in maths, "after GCSE it's A-level or nothing." ("Army of students may help teach maths", TES, April 25).

I would like to draw attention to Free-Standing Maths Qualifications, which we have run successfully for several years. FSMQs are for post-16 students and began in September 2000. Two advanced FSMQs and another module can now make up a new AS-level: Use of mathematics.

This is ideal for those students who do not intend to go on to A-level, but want to learn how to apply advanced maths in real and interesting contexts.

There is less emphasis on content than in a traditional AS, and more emphasis on application, understanding, and communication.

I feel this new qualification fills the gap identified by Professor Llewellyn Smith and would strongly recommend it. For more information visit www.qca.org.uk, or the Nuffield website www.fsmq.orghome.

Su Nicholson Learning support manager Loreto College, Chichester Road Manchester

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