In December 2012, ACME published its proposals for post-16
mathematics beyond GCSE. ACME's two papers outline a new
qualification beyond GCSE Mathematics and the steps
that need to be taken to ensure that this qualification can be
introduced effectively. These include needing to ensure that HE and
employers value the new qualification, that there are teachers in
place and trained to teach it and that schools, colleges, parents
and pupils receive good advice about post-16 mathematics
In a speech at the Royal Society in July 2011, the Secretary of
State Michael Gove stated his wish that within ten years, all young
people would be studying some form of mathematics post-16. This
echoed ACME's previous work on post-16 mathematics:
Post-16 in 2016 and the
Mathematical Needs project.
ACME decide to embark on a piece of work to articulate how this
vision could be realised, and in particular took a leading role in
the mathematics and wider subject communities in seeking to
increase the provision and take-up of appropriate post-16
mathematics qualifications. Various stakeholders in the mathematics
and STEM communities have been supportive of this work. As well as
providing advice on the new pathway(s) beyond GCSE Mathematics,
ACME also intends to inform both the review of A-level mathematics
provision and the next steps for level 2 (and below) mathematics
In February 2012 ACME issued Bridging the
mathematics gap: Have your say in order to prompt
discussion amongst a much wider audience of how the issues
surrounding post-16 mathematics could be tackled. This discussion
paper prompted many organisations to share their insights into this
area with ACME.
Following the receipt of this advice, ACME produced a briefing
paper outlining potential models for the structure and content
of the pathway(s) for those students who have previously attained
GCSE A*-C in mathematics, but for whom A-level mathematics is
inappropriate. This briefing paper was informed by extensive
discussions with the mathematics and other communities (including
HE, employers and pre-19 educationand was produced in time for
discussion at the ACME annual conference in July 2012.
The paper sets out the five categories of approaches to tackling
the problem that we have identified. A brief description of the
advantages and drawbacks is presented in each case to stimulate
further discussion with stakeholders.
The five categories considered were:
- Embedded approaches - 'Distributed mathematics'
- Fixed-programme approaches - 'Baccalaureate-type models'
- Single qualification approaches - 'Broadening AS-level
- Approaches to enable progression - 'Access to AS-level
- Pathways approaches - 'Alternatives to AS Mathematics'
A joint workshop with the British Academy was held in
October 2012 to discuss the paper with key stakeholders from the
social sciences and humanities.
In November 2012, a residential workshop was held with awarding
bodies, curriculum developers and others to discuss the aims and
assessment needs of a potential new post-16 mathematics
Outer Circle and JMC have been involved throughout this work and
we are grateful for the time they have invested and the expertise
they have shared.
ACME has set a demanding challenge, and looks forward to
supporting the government as it seeks to coordinate the strands
that need to be in place in order to students have acccess to an
effective mathematics education beyond 16. Please contact us via email@example.com to
find out more about these proposals, or to contribute you assitance
in any way.