The new ‘Core Maths’ qualifications are designed to better prepare students for the mathematical demands of study, employment and life. The Core Maths initiative is a major part of the government’s plan to increase participation and raise standards in mathematics – the ambition is for most students to continue studying mathematics to 18 by 2020. The course has been developed with employers, universities and professional bodies as valuable preparation for university study and employment.
The new 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. It builds upon and strengthens existing skills and focuses on using and applying mathematics to solve problems relevant to their everyday lives.
Core Maths builds on GCSE maths with a sharper focus on problem-solving skills by considering and tackling mathematics in meaningful contexts. This includes financial applications of mathematics as well as further statistical ideas that can support work in other subjects they will be studying such as psychology, health sciences, geography, sociology and even history. 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. Many ‘early adopter’ Schools and Colleges are finding this approach beneficial not only to the students but also in supporting capacity challenges.
Students in social sciences, business, psychology, sciences and health sciences who are not taking A/AS level Maths 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 has been designed to maintain and develop real-life maths skills. What you study is not purely theoretical or abstract; it can be applied on a day-to-day basis in work, study or life and most courses will include a financial maths element. It will also help with other A-level subjects – in particular with science, geography, business studies, psychology and economics.
The skills developed in the study of mathematics are increasingly important in the workplace and in higher education; studying Core Maths will help you keep up these essential skills. Most students who study maths after GCSE improve their career choices and increase their earning potential.
Chairman and CEO of Nestlé UK and Ireland
Whether in retail, healthcare, the service sector, transport or manufacturing, the UK will only secure and strengthen its competitive position in the global economy if it has a future workforce with solid numeracy and financial management skills. The new Core Maths qualification is an excellent way to ensure British employers have a ready pipeline of young talent with the maths skills they need.
Managing Director of Brompton Bicycles Ltd
At Brompton, as with every business maths runs through our organisation; design, purchasing, budgeting and profit & loss. It effects all areas HR, Marketing, Logistics, ICT not just those that are perceived to be mathematical like Finance or Design. Too often maths is discarded too early and its relevance to the subject ignored. The introduction of Core Maths is a superb tool to ensure that development of an appreciation of financial management and problem solving is continued, something that is critical to all areas of business.
Good numeracy skills are important for all apprentices. The real life mathematics skills students learn on the new Core Maths qualification will benefit not only their future employers but give the students and apprentices confidence to tackle and solve problems in their everyday lives too.
Creative Director, Your Studio Ltd & Lecturer at the Royal College of Art
Core Maths is the kind of course that could give you the foundations to move into any field with real confidence. From advertising to animation, graphics to web design, the understanding of grids, mathematics, formulas and percentages will become part of your everyday that you effortlessly flow over without them becoming barriers to your success.
Talent and Resources Director, Crossrail
The world of work is changing rapidly, particularly in terms of technological change, and with this comes an increasing demand for people with mathematical skills. The new (Core Maths) qualification will be of immense value to employers who not only want to develop their employees but also want to employ numerate school leavers, apprentices and graduates who have a good grasp of financial management and problem solving approaches.
Chairman of leading international environmental consultancy SLR
The real life mathematics skills students learn on the new Core Maths qualification will benefit not only their future employers but give the students’ confidence to tackle and solve problems in their everyday lives. SLR employs over 1200 of the world’s brightest environmental scientists working for leading companies all around the globe, and none of them would be able to perform effectively without a solid base of mathematical competence
Talent Management Director at The LGC Group
As a world leading life science company, LGC relies on its employees to have an excellent understanding of maths, whether, for example, working in the labs studying DNA, or in an office, reviewing budgets or counting stock. Numeracy skills - the ability to read data - for employees at all levels, regardless of job role or age, are a critical factor in ensuring that we maintain our standards of excellence, help our employees grow in their career and ensure the ongoing growth and success of our business.
Managing Director at MTM Products Limited + Director at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire & Leicestershire)
Many businesses, including my own, have experienced difficulty in recruiting young people with good numeracy skills. I can think of very few jobs in my organisation regardless of level or function, that do not require numeracy, analytical or problem-solving skills.
The new Core Maths qualification which relates to real life situations in the workplace will ensure that we can recruit “work ready” young people who will quickly be able to contribute to the success of the business. I would encourage other businesses to ensure that their local schools and colleges offer this highly relevant maths qualification.
"Whilst we would not discriminate against students who do not/are unable to take a Core Maths course from 2015 we welcome the ethos behind this development. For example, students in social sciences, business, psychology, sciences and health sciences who are not taking A/AS level Maths may find the Core Maths element useful in preparing for university study where a working application of maths or statistics may be required."
"The University of Bath welcomes the introduction of Core Mathematics qualifications to allow students the opportunity to develop their mathematical and statistical problem-solving, evaluation and data-analysis skills beyond GCSE. Many of the degree schemes at Bath value these skills, even where there is no formal requirement for attainment of a Mathematics qualification beyond GCSE level, and highlight this in their published selection criteria. Successful completion of a Core Mathematics qualification
(continued) For degree courses in Architecture, Biosciences, Biomedical Science, Business and Management degrees, Chemistry, Education with Psychology, International Development with Economics, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Physical Activity and Health, Politics and International Relations, Psychology, Sociology, Social Policy, Social Science and Sports Science degrees a Core Mathematics qualification would therefore be viewed as a positive enhancement for selection decisions if a candidate was not taking A-level Mathematics.
(continued) For applications to Natural Sciences where students are not taking options in Physics or Mathematics then an A grade in the Core Mathematics qualification would be an acceptable alternative to A level Mathematics.
For degree courses where there is a specified GCSE grade in Mathematics, then attainment of a C grade or better in Core Mathematics could serve as an alternate way to meet the GCSE requirement.
Please note that for degree courses where an A-level in Mathematics (or equivalent) is a specified requirement, a Core Mathematics qualification would not be a substitute qualification."
"Where a programme requires above a grade C in GCSE Mathematics or an AS level in Mathematics it is probable that we will consider the level 3 core Maths qualification as meeting these requirements."
"While we would not discriminate against students who do not/are unable to take a Core Maths course from 2015, we welcome the ethos behind this development. For example, students in social sciences, business, psychology and sciences who are not taking AS/A Level Maths may find the Core Maths element useful in preparing for university study where a working application of maths or statistics may be required."
"While we recognise the value of Core Maths in strengthening mathematical ability and, where appropriate, encourage students to take Core Maths, please note that it isn’t a suitable alternative to A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and won’t be a requirement of any offer made."
"Whilst recognising that some Schools and Colleges may be initially unable to offer the new qualifications, Coventry University welcomes the introduction of Core Mathematics and would be pleased to receive applications from students offering these qualifications.
Core Mathematics will not typically form part of any offer for entry to
"The University of Exeter supports the core maths and this may be considered acceptable in lieu of GCSE grade A in this instance; this will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, this will not be acceptable in lieu of AS/A level maths."
"The University welcomes the introduction of the new suite of Core Mathematics qualifications and believes that, where accessible, it will be beneficial for students to study alongside their other level 3 qualifications, where there is a need to develop their skills in this area. There is no requirement for applicants to study the qualification and we will not be able to consider it as a substitute for A level Mathematics, for courses which require it. However, unless specifically excluded, where general tariff point offers are made for course entry, the qualification will be included towards the required tariff points."
"We support the ethos behind the introduction of Core Maths and it may be beneficial to students in a wide range of degree programmes. However, we know there may be restrictions on student choice and will not make this a requirement. We do not expect Core Maths to be a suitable replacement for those programmes that require A level maths."
"Imperial College London supports the introduction of the Core Maths qualification and recognises its value to students. However, this will not be accepted in lieu of AS/A-level Maths or Further Maths."
"We recognise that Core Maths qualifications have the potential to develop a level of mathematical skill that would be beneficial for studying many of our undergraduate programmes, and we will accept Core Maths in lieu of any required maths grade at GCSE, using the below equivalencies. However, where maths is a required subject at A level, we would not consider Core Maths to be a suitable alternative for meeting this requirement. King's has agreed the following grade equivalencies: Core Maths grade A for GCSE grade A*; Core Maths grade B for GCSE grade A; Core Maths grade C for GCSE grades B and C."
"The University of Kent welcomes the introduction of Core Mathematics qualifications to provide students with the opportunity to develop their mathematical skills further beyond GCSE. As the University is a nationally recognised Q-step centre for quantitative social science skills, we value the importance of giving our students the chance to develop broader statistical, problem–solving, evaluation and data analysis skills beyond GSCE. The University believes students taking degree subjects which do not require an A-level in Mathematics will benefit from taking a Level 3 Core Maths qualification from the suite available. Although not a pre-requisite entry requirement for admission we would continue to look positively on applications from students offering Core Mathematics qualifications."
"Lancaster welcomes the introduction of the new Core Maths
"We will not require Core Maths as a specific qualification for entry, though we support this development as a useful preparation for university study."
"LSE recognises that the skills and experience gained by students who choose to undertake the Core Maths Qualification may be very useful as preparation for the study of social sciences at
Whilst we do not include the grades gained from Core Maths in our standard offers, and there is no requirement to do one, successful completion of the Core Maths qualification can help you demonstrate your readiness to study the rigorously academic undergraduate programmes at LSE.
Applicants to LSE are expected to have at least a grade B (or a grade 5 under the new grading system) in GCSE mathematics. We would be likely to consider a pass in Core Maths to be an alternative way to meet this requirement."
"The University welcomes and recognises the value of Level 3 core mathematics qualifications (eg AQA Certificate in Mathematical Studies). Core Mathematics is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a
"We welcome the introduction of Core Maths qualifications and believe that they will be of benefit to students who take degree programmes which involve quantitative skills but do not require A or AS level Mathematics.
Some of our degree programmes require GCSE Mathematics from applicants who are not taking Mathematics at A level or equivalent, usually at grade A or B. We will accept a Core Mathematics qualification (minimum grade C) in lieu of the required GCSE Mathematics grade where an applicant has achieved grade C or 4 in the GCSE. In some cases, we may make a dual offer to take account of a Core Mathematics qualification."
"We welcome the introduction of the new Core Mathematics qualifications which will provide valued skills to support higher education studies across a range of disciplines.
Where a course requires applicants to have at least grade B (grade 5 under the new grading system) in GCSE mathematics we would be likely to consider a pass in Core Maths at grade C as an alternate way to fulfil this requirement.
For courses that require an A Level in Mathematics, the Core Mathematics qualification will not be accepted as a substitute.
GCSE Mathematics requirements for our courses vary according to
"As of September
"We welcome the introduction of the new Core Mathematics qualifications and believe they will be beneficial to students wishing to study social science subjects that may involve the use of applied mathematical skills, such as business management, economics, geography and politics."
"In England, a new ‘Core Maths’ qualification was introduced in September 2014 with the intention of increasing the number of people who study mathematics beyond GCSE level. This qualification focuses on the use of mathematics skills in contextualised, complex scenarios. The University of Reading supports and values the ethos behind this qualification and recognises that it may be beneficial to a range of degree subjects that do not generally ask for AS or A Level Mathematics but where enhanced numerical or statistical skills may be helpful. Core Maths is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and we are not currently able to accept Core Maths in lieu of AS or A Level Mathematics where this is a specified requirement for entry. However, whilst we do not, at this time, include it as a formal condition of an offer to our applicants, we do welcome the evidence of
"The Core Maths qualification is accepted alongside GCSE Maths for those programmes requiring a minimum of a grade B in GCSE Maths. e.g. Psychology."
"Core Maths qualifications specifically focus on the use of mathematics skills in contextualised, complex scenarios. The University of Sheffield welcomes the ethos behind the development of Core Maths and recognises that students who are not taking AS or A Level Maths may find these qualifications beneficial in preparing for undergraduate study, even if the course does not require AS or A Level Maths as part of the entry requirements.
Whilst we will not include Core Maths qualifications in our entry requirements or offers, we do welcome the evidence of
"We welcome the introduction of the new Core Mathematics qualification in England and fully support the principles behind the new qualifications. We believe they could be beneficial to students considering making an application to a range of degree subjects in the social sciences, business, and health sciences, for example. Applicants not taking mathematics to A or AS level are advised to include their Core Mathematics qualification on their UCAS application form, especially if they are applying for degrees in subjects such as social sciences, business and geography, for which A/AS mathematics is not a requirement. However, we will not make Core Mathematics an entry requirement as this qualification is not available universally."
"The University of Sunderland welcomes the New Core Maths qualification and will accept this qualification, where possible in lieu of GCSE Mathematics grade C or above."
"The University of Surrey supports the ethos behind this new qualification in that it may be beneficial to a range of degree subjects that do not generally ask for A-level Mathematics but where enhanced numerical or statistical skills may be helpful. For this reason, we encourage applicants to consider taking this qualification where practical.
However, we are aware that the school curriculum and/or timetabling may prohibit this, so we will not be including Core Mathematics as part of a conditional offer unless the applicant has presented with in this in lieu of another equivalent qualification."
"The University of Warwick welcomes the development of the Core Maths qualifications, and the additional relevant skills that the qualifications can provide in preparation for a range of our courses.
In some cases, departments would be happy to take the qualification in lieu of their GCSE mathematics requirement, but please refer to the individual entry requirements for the course in which you are interested."
"We welcome the introduction of the new Core Mathematics qualifications which will provide valuable skills to support higher education studies across a range of disciplines.
Where a student is offering a Core Mathematics qualification and not a GCSE in Mathematics, we may accept the Core Mathematics qualification in lieu of a GCSE requirement. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Core Mathematics will not be acceptable as a substitute for an A level Mathematics requirement."