Core Maths is a new Level 3 course for students who achieve a Grade 4 or above pass at GCSE Maths. The qualification is designed to prepare students for the mathematical demands of work study and life.
It's a major part of the government's plan to increase participation post 16 and raise mathematical standards. The ambition is for the majority of students to continue studying maths until 18 years old by 2020.
The course has been developed with employers, universities and professional bodies as valuable preparation for higher education and employment.
You will need a Grade 4 or above in mathematics at GCSE.
There has been a tremendous amount of coverage in the Media recently about the UK’s gap in basic maths skills. Only 20% of students study maths beyond GCSE in the UK – the lowest rate in leading developed countries in the world; in Japan, this figure is 85%. This puts young people in the UK at a major disadvantage in a global job market.
The Higher Education STEM project, investigating the mathematical and statistical requirements in undergraduate disciplines, reported that many students arrive at university with unrealistic expectations of the mathematical and statistical demands of their subjects which leads to a lack of confidence and anxiety by the students.
This course has been introduced to address these issues and, importantly, counts towards the Level 3 mathematics achievement measure in 2017 Performance Tables.
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.
Core Maths is a new course but already several universities have come out in strong support of it. Even subjects like history now recognise the importance of statistics and so a Core Maths qualification will help you hit the ground running at
Employers from all different sectors are also firmly behind the Core Maths qualification. Many roles in today’s workplace require high levels of budget management and problem-solving skills; Core Maths will be a useful tool in equipping you with these skills.
Trigonometry to understand a bullet's trajectory, calculating matching points between fingerprint sets, working out the speed and braking distance at the scene of a car crash - without maths, there would be no forensic experts.
Whether calculating fabric lengths, planning the design and lay-out of a room or mixing colours in the right proportions, interior designers use the maths of ratios and geometry on a daily basis.
If a DJ wants to keep the crowd on the dance floor, they need a grasp of maths to mix common beats between tracks. The margin for error is small. Losing count of the beats and dropping the track at the wrong moment can easily ruin the DJ's set.
To understand the relationship between how we think, feel and behave, we need the maths of statistics to reveal patterns and trends - and these are what therapists use to find the best way to help their patients.
It all looks so easy when the chefs are in the TV studio, but you try guessing the ingredient proportions for chocolate truffles, or the exact cooling temperatures and the mathematical ratios that are key to cooking success.
Fashion is an exciting business and serious mathematics is critical to pattern, design and price points - get it wrong, and the designer won't be designing for long.
Salvador Dali used geometry and John Robinson used topology; fractiles, textiles, tessellations - maths has always featured in great artists' work.
Working out the gradient of a garden slope, irrigating a park so that plants and grass grow, calculating when the tilt of that 10 metre tree is beginning to threaten the house beside it... the landscape gardener uses plenty of maths skills too.
Vloggers gauge their popularity by comparing their own subscriber numbers to others, which in turn calculates their influence and celebrity status. Maths can make or break the latest online star.
"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."
"The University of Brighton fully supports the ethos behind the introduction of the new Core Mathematics qualifications and believes they could be beneficial to students considering making an application to a range of degree subjects. However, the University does not intend, at this time, to set an expectation that such applicants must offer this new qualification nor for Core Mathematics to be a substitute for where A level Mathematics is specified in an offer."
"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."
"Cardiff University recognises the benefits of the Core Mathematics qualification, particularly in helping students to use and develop mathematical modelling and problem-solving skills, which are key not only to University study but to employers. Whilst Core Mathematics is not a requirement for entry into Cardiff University, it may be considered in lieu of a GCSE in Mathematics at grade B or above, but will not be accepted in lieu of an AS or A-Level in Mathematics where this is required."
City, University of London welcomes the introduction of Core Maths and recognises the benefit that it will bring for students who require quantitative skills but do not require A level Mathematics.
Many of our courses, especially in the area of Social Sciences and Business, will appreciate the broader statistical, numerical and problem-solving skills that it develops.
Please note that for courses in Engineering or other disciplines where Mathematics A level may be a requirement, Core Maths will not be considered as an equivalent.
"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
"We particularly welcome the introduction of the Core Mathematics Qualification and we will accept a Core Maths Qualification (grade B minimum) in lieu of our grade A in GCSE Mathematics requirement for programmes in accounting, business, finance, management, and marketing."
"The University of Edinburgh welcomes the introduction of Level 3 Core Maths as a means for students to develop their maths skills beyond GCSE.
We accept Core Maths qualifications in lieu of GCSE Maths for entry to degree programmes that have statistical and/or mathematical elements, but for which there is not a requirement for Maths at A Level.
Students applying for entry to programmes requiring grade A or grade B in GCSE Maths who have not achieved
For degree programmes in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Science and Engineering, and in the College of Medicine and Vet Medicine, where Mathematics is required at GCSE at grade A or B, Level 3 Core Maths will be accepted in lieu of this at grade A where an A was required at GCSE and at grade B where a B was required at GCSE."
‘Although Core Maths will not typically form part of any offer made by the University of Essex, we welcome the introduction of this new qualification. We believe that it will provide valuable preparation for university study, particularly those wishing to study courses which involve the use of statistical data such as the social sciences.’
"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."
"Core Maths will be accepted in lieu of a GCSE grade B (grade 6 in the new marking protocol) where this is a requirement of the programme."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"We welcome the new Core Maths qualification but
'The University of Liverpool recognises the value of the Core Maths qualification to support the development of mathematical skills. While the University will not include Core Maths in our entry requirements, we welcome the additional skills it will give to students. We will not accept Core Maths in lieu of AS/A level Maths or equivalent qualifications where Mathematics is a subject requirement.'
"Core Mathematics programmes are designed for students who have achieved a grade A*- C in GCSE, who are not taking the subject to AS or A level, but who wish to continue studying Mathematics beyond GCSE. Whilst the qualification does not form part of our standard entrance requirements, UCL welcomes the opportunity for students to be able to continue their mathematics studies. For programmes where GCSE Mathematics is required at grade B, Core Mathematics will be accepted as a supplement to grade C at GCSE."
"We support the ethos behind the introduction of 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."
"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."
Informed Choices - the Russell Group of 24 leading universities’ guide to making decisions about post-16 education
"Core Maths’ refers to a group of mathematics qualifications available in England. They are designed for students who have achieved a grade A*-C in GCSE, and wish to continue studying maths but are not taking it at AS or A-level.
Russell Group universities value mathematics skills for many different degree courses and many have GCSE or equivalent requirements. Mathematical and statistical problem solving, data analysis and interpretation skills can be useful for a wide variety of undergraduate degrees, and a Core Maths qualification may help you to improve and maintain these skills, especially if you are not taking AS or A-level Maths/Further Maths.
In certain circumstances, for example, if a student has not met a minimum GCSE maths requirement, some universities may also consider achievement in a Core Maths qualification instead. You should check individual university websites for more information.
Many degree courses require A-level or AS-level Maths and sometimes Further Maths as part of their entry requirements."
"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
"Sheffield Hallam University supports the introduction of the new Core Maths qualification and the additional skills this will provide for those who are able to access it,
"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."