Labour hopes to multiply post-16 maths study

Planned course aims to woo pupils who have B or C at GCSE

Richard Vaughan

A new post-16 qualification in maths would be created under a future Labour government in a bid to encourage more students to study the subject after GCSE, it was announced this week.

The move is an attempt to encourage pupils with B or C grades at GCSE to consider taking the subject in some form when they continue their studies after 16. The plan was put forward by shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan, who said just 16 per cent of pupils with B or C grades go on to study maths at AS level, whereas 80 per cent of those with an A* do.

Mr Brennan said his party was examining a new "interim qualification" as part of its policy review process, which would provide an option to study maths for students who might not want to embark on a full A level in the subject.

"The course could take the form of an entirely new level 3 qualification sitting between GCSE and A level, or it could take the form of an expanded AS-level qualification," Mr Brennan told a conference hosted by the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME).

Mr Brennan's comments follow a report issued by ACME on the same day, which stated that tens of thousands of pupils were achieving decent grades in maths, but were being turned off from studying at a higher level.

"Each year there are 250,000-plus students who achieve a grade B or C at GCSE, but who do not, or cannot, take a mathematics course post-16," the report said.

Sybil Cock, a member of ACME and an educational consultant, said she welcomed Labour's plans. "There are other qualifications out there, but the uptake is very low as there are very few incentives for students to take them," Ms Cock said. "What we would like is for universities to demand some sort of maths qualification to study courses such as business studies or geography, where a full A level is not required."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

Latest stories

Teacher assessed grades, TAGs, results day 2021

SQA results day 2021: how we got here

It’s been a frenetic year – with exams were cancelled and the SQA due to be replaced – so here’s a recap of events on the road to results day
Emma Seith 5 Aug 2021
A significant proportion of students getting their results next week is considering an apprenticeship

Ucas: Half of school leavers considering apprenticeship

Over half of 17- to 19-year-olds who are receiving their grades next Tuesday, but are not intending to start a traditional degree course in the autumn, have considered an apprenticeship, says Ucas
Julia Belgutay 5 Aug 2021