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Our priorities

We focus particular effort on six priorities to improve fairness in maths education and maximise our impact on young people’s lives:

Student writing maths

Covid recovery

Covid recovery

The issue:

  1. Children studying for exams and those from disadvantaged families are the most likely to have suffered severe disruption as a result of Covid[1].
  2. Nearly one in four pupils in Years 10 and 11 say they could not get help from family members during lockdown and 40% said they lacked a routine to help them study from home[1].
  3. There are indications that maths has been particularly affected. A large study which compared test results between 2019-20 and 2020-21 found some year groups up to 12 weeks behind, with students attending schools serving low-income families more negatively affected[2].​

So we’re:​

Working with schools and colleges to address the impact of the Covid crisis on maths learning.

By providing support to schools and colleges nationally through the AMSP and NCETM to help them take action to identify and address crucial gaps in learning, offering guidance on curriculum priorities, providing tailored resources and online courses, and offering other support for catch-up.

Student distressed by her work

Attitudes and confidence

Attitudes and confidence

The issue:

  1. 24% of 8-year-olds say they don’t enjoy maths and this rises to 38% by age 15[3].
  2. Overall, students are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards maths when they are successful in the subject[4].
  3. Nonetheless, girls are less likely to enjoy and progress in maths, due largely to gender stereotypes[5][6].

So we’re:​

Helping young people progress in formal education with positive attitudes to and confidence in maths.

By working to make maths teaching rigorous, relatable and relevant, fostering student understanding and confidence through high-quality teaching and curriculum resources, and providing enrichment focused on applying maths to issues of student interest and how maths is used in a wide variety of sectors and careers.

Student shrugging at teacher

Inequalities in teaching

Inequalities in teaching

The issue:

  1. Just 44% of secondary maths teachers have a degree in a mathematical subject compared to 65% of English teachers with an English degree[7].
  2. One in three maths and science departments in secondary schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say they are not well-staffed[8].
  3. Nationally, disadvantaged (FSM) students are only half as likely to gain a high grade in GCSE Mathematics (7, 8 or 9) as other students[9] and were four times less likely to achieve an A* in the subject under previous grading[10].​

So we’re:​

Helping to improve the quality of maths teaching by developing the maths knowledge and skills of teachers and reducing disparities due to disadvantage.

By working with schools to build strong mathematical foundations at primary and secondary stages through the NCETM’s Teaching for Mastery programme, helping state school students achieve high standards at GCSE through enhanced teaching of mathematical problem-solving, and working actively with schools in disadvantaged areas to improve teacher skills and confidence.​

Covid recovery

The issue:

  1. Children studying for exams and those from disadvantaged families are the most likely to have suffered severe disruption as a result of Covid[1].
  2. Nearly one in four pupils in Years 10 and 11 say they could not get help from family members during lockdown and 40% said they lacked a routine to help them study from home[1].
  3. There are indications that maths has been particularly affected. A large study which compared test results between 2019-20 and 2020-21 found some year groups up to 12 weeks behind, with students attending schools serving low-income families more negatively affected[2].​

So we’re:​

Working with schools and colleges to address the impact of the Covid crisis on maths learning.

By providing support to schools and colleges nationally through the AMSP and NCETM to help them take action to identify and address crucial gaps in learning, offering guidance on curriculum priorities, providing tailored resources and online courses, and offering other support for catch-up.

Attitudes and confidence

The issue:

  1. 24% of 8-year-olds say they don’t enjoy maths and this rises to 38% by age 15[3].
  2. Overall, students are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards maths when they are successful in the subject[4].
  3. Nonetheless, girls are less likely to enjoy and progress in maths, due largely to gender stereotypes[5][6].

So we’re:​

Helping young people progress in formal education with positive attitudes to and confidence in maths.

By working to make maths teaching rigorous, relatable and relevant, fostering student understanding and confidence through high-quality teaching and curriculum resources, and providing enrichment focused on applying maths to issues of student interest and how maths is used in a wide variety of sectors and careers.

Inequalities in teaching

The issue:

  1. Just 44% of secondary maths teachers have a degree in a mathematical subject compared to 65% of English teachers with an English degree[7].
  2. One in three maths and science departments in secondary schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say they are not well-staffed[8].
  3. Nationally, disadvantaged (FSM) students are only half as likely to gain a high grade in GCSE Mathematics (7, 8 or 9) as other students[9] and were four times less likely to achieve an A* in the subject under previous grading[10].​

So we’re:​

Helping to improve the quality of maths teaching by developing the maths knowledge and skills of teachers and reducing disparities due to disadvantage.

By working with schools to build strong mathematical foundations at primary and secondary stages through the NCETM’s Teaching for Mastery programme, helping state school students achieve high standards at GCSE through enhanced teaching of mathematical problem-solving, and working actively with schools in disadvantaged areas to improve teacher skills and confidence.​

student with her head in her hands looking in dismay down at a test paper during an exam

GCSE resit failure

GCSE resit failure

The issue:

  1. One third of students fail to achieve a GCSE Mathematics pass at age 16[11].
  2. GCSE Mathematics resit success is poor: in 2019 fewer than one in five students re-taking GCSE Mathematics achieved a grade 4 or equivalent by age 18[12]​.
  3. The average progress score for disadvantaged students resitting GCSE Mathematics was below zero in 2019, meaning overall progress was negative in maths for this group between ages 16 and 18[12].​

So we’re:​

Transforming outcomes for students who fail to achieve GCSE Mathematics at age 16.

By working with 16-18 colleges to improve teaching and success rates for post-16 GCSE Mathematics resits and Functional Skills Mathematics; providing effective resources and training; and applying lessons from our innovative post-16 GCSE curriculum focused on the maths needed for everyday life and work.

Business people in a meeting, watching a presentation involving data

Future society and work

Future society and work

The issue:

  1. As technology develops and the availability and use of data expands, data science skills are at a premium[13].
  2. Lack of proficiency in complex analytical skills contributes to just under half of all skills gaps reported by employers (47%)[14].
  3. The ability of individuals to understand and use quantitative information underpins informed citizenship. Individuals without these skills are particularly susceptible to misinformation[15].

So we’re:​

Shaping the maths young people need to become informed citizens and to thrive in the future economy. ​

By working with schools and colleges to scale-up Core Maths so that more students continue maths beyond GCSE, supporting the teaching of data analysis in the sciences and other quantitative subjects, developing Level 3 Data Science courses and assessment, and integrating the use of technology into the maths classroom.

Teenage boy sat on a swing looking despondant

Earnings premium

Earnings premium

The issue:

  1. An A level in maths is a social elevator, conferring a 10% earnings advantage at age 30 in its own right[16]
  2. Further Maths and success in entrance tests are key enablers for maths and STEM study at top universities, which confers considerable lifetime earnings benefits[17].
  3. These benefits are unevenly distributed[18] on the basis of:
    • Schooling – state vs independent sector
    • Gender
    • Ethnicity
    • Social disadvantage

So we’re:​

Enabling more students to enjoy the benefits of an advanced and specialist mathematics education regardless of background.

By working with state schools and colleges to increase the number of students progressing into A level Maths and Further Maths, ensuring all students can access Further Maths regardless of where they are, and providing high quality tuition and support directly to state educated students in Further Maths and university entry.​

GCSE resit failure

The issue:

  1. One third of students fail to achieve a GCSE Mathematics pass at age 16[11].
  2. GCSE Mathematics resit success is poor: in 2019 fewer than one in five students re-taking GCSE Mathematics achieved a grade 4 or equivalent by age 18[12]​.
  3. The average progress score for disadvantaged students resitting GCSE Mathematics was below zero in 2019, meaning overall progress was negative in maths for this group between ages 16 and 18[12].​

So we’re:​

Transforming outcomes for students who fail to achieve GCSE Mathematics at age 16.

By working with 16-18 colleges to improve teaching and success rates for post-16 GCSE Mathematics resits and Functional Skills Mathematics; providing effective resources and training; and applying lessons from our innovative post-16 GCSE curriculum focused on the maths needed for everyday life and work.

Future society and work

The issue:

  1. As technology develops and the availability and use of data expands, data science skills are at a premium[13].
  2. Lack of proficiency in complex analytical skills contributes to just under half of all skills gaps reported by employers (47%)[14].
  3. The ability of individuals to understand and use quantitative information underpins informed citizenship. Individuals without these skills are particularly susceptible to misinformation[15].

So we’re:​

Shaping the maths young people need to become informed citizens and to thrive in the future economy. ​

By working with schools and colleges to scale-up Core Maths so that more students continue maths beyond GCSE, supporting the teaching of data analysis in the sciences and other quantitative subjects, developing Level 3 Data Science courses and assessment, and integrating the use of technology into the maths classroom.

Earnings premium

The issue:

  1. An A level in maths is a social elevator, conferring a 10% earnings advantage at age 30 in its own right[16]
  2. Further Maths and success in entrance tests are key enablers for maths and STEM study at top universities, which confers considerable lifetime earnings benefits[17].
  3. These benefits are unevenly distributed[18] on the basis of:
    • Schooling – state vs independent sector
    • Gender
    • Ethnicity
    • Social disadvantage

So we’re:​

Enabling more students to enjoy the benefits of an advanced and specialist mathematics education regardless of background.

By working with state schools and colleges to increase the number of students progressing into A level Maths and Further Maths, ensuring all students can access Further Maths regardless of where they are, and providing high quality tuition and support directly to state educated students in Further Maths and university entry.​

Sources