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Further Education Maths Challenge

MEI’s Further Education (FE) Maths Challenge is a competition for post-16 students who are working towards gaining a Functional Skills maths qualification or improving their GCSE Mathematics grade.

The challenge is a highly successful way of engaging and motivating these students with maths, resulting in improved student confidence and engagement.

Applications to be a Regional Centre for the FE Maths Challenge 2024/25 are now open. Please be aware that an application to be a Regional Centre does not guarantee you will be selected. In the event that there is more than one application for a given region, we will contact applicants and decide on a case-by-case basis. 

Regional Centre Application

If you would like to participate in next year’s competition, as a College Lead, please register your interest to stay informed about the College Lead application process, using the following link: 

Register of Interest

The FE Maths Challenge emerged from MEI’s work with the Stoke-on-Trent Mathematics Excellence Partnership. In 2021 MEI turned this into a national project and worked with colleges across England and in collaboration with the Centres for Maths Excellence to extend the competition to other areas.

The FE Maths Challenge has grown to involve 10 regional centres, 82 colleges, and more than 32 000 students. Teams all over England and Wales have been participating – from Brighton in the South to Ashington in the North. The competition culminates in Regional Finals held in colleges, universities and sports stadiums. We have exceeded expectations as the FE Maths Challenge goes from strength to strength. 

Who is the FE Maths Challenge for?

The competition is open to any student in 16-19 education (or in the case of an EHCP, aged up to 25) who has not yet achieved a grade 4 or above in GCSE Mathematics, who is enrolled at a college, school, sixth form, or training provider involved with the FE Maths Challenge. Students aged below 16 on 1st September 2024 and those on adult courses are not eligible for this competition. 

There are three entry categories:

  • The Funkies– for students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 1
  • Ein2steins– For students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 2
  • Go forth– For students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 3

Student feedback

  • 96% of students stated that, “Overall the FE Maths Challenge” was “Good” or “Excellent”. 
  • Feedback showed that 80% of students feel that the FE Maths Challenge has improved their confidence in maths. 
  • 70% of students feel that the FE Maths Challenge has improved their confidence in taking the maths exam this summer.

“Attending the FE Maths Challenge has been a great experience for me, especially as it is my first time participating in a Maths competition. I think this has helped me to understand my strengths and recognise my weakness so I can continue improving.” 

“I enjoyed working as a team and problem solving. It was nice to come together as a group.”

 “All of it I enjoyed, and this made me feel better about maths and the coming exam.”

“Overall, its enjoyable and not too pressurised. Everyone’s laughing and having fun. I normally hate maths, but this makes it fun, and I feel more motivated as it’s a competition.”

“I did enjoy the competition and the fun that came with it.”

“I like the competitiveness between every college.

“All the challenges were really fun. They staff and students from different colleges were very polite. Overall had an amazing time.”

“I liked seeing people celebrate every time they got the correct answer.”

“The activities really made me think and talking with my team mates improved my communication skills.”

“I enjoyed the positive atmosphere of the event (as well as the free food, which was generous), and I think the event cultivated a real uplifting mindset for everyone involved.”

Feedback from various students.

When is the competition?

The competition runs from late November to late March.

Training

Late November – Early December

  • In class
  • Kahoot quizzes

First round

December

  • In class
  • Kahoot quizzes

College Final

January

  • In college
  • Kahoot quiz and a Tarsia jigsaw puzzle

Regional Final

March

  • In college, at a large venue, such as a sports stadium or university
  • Kahoot quiz and a Tarsia jigsaw puzzle

How is it organised?

MEI supplies all the questions and materials needed for the Challenge.

The Challenge is run within a ‘cluster’ of colleges. This could be amongst a College Group, or any other cluster of colleges that collaborate to take part.

Each cluster needs one college to take on the role of the ‘FE Maths Challenge Regional Centre’, leading the Challenge within the cluster. This involves liaising with MEI, coordinating with the other colleges in the cluster, and arranging the regional final.

How do I get involved?

There are two ways of getting involved: 

  1. Become an ‘FE Maths Challenge Regional Centre’, leading the FE Maths Challenge in your city, region or network. 
  1. Take part as a participating college or school with a ‘FE Maths Challenge Regional Centre’ that’s leading the FE Maths Challenge in your region. You can see who is involved as a regional centre this year below.

Applications to be a Regional Centre for the FE Maths Challenge 2024/25 are now open. Please be aware that an application to be a Regional Centre does not guarantee you will be selected. In the event that there is more than one application for a given region, we will contact applicants and decide on a case-by-case basis. 

Regional Centre Application

If you would like to participate in next year’s competition, as a College Lead, please register your interest to stay informed about the College Lead application process, using the following link: 

Register of Interest

Who were the Regional Centres for 2023-24?

  • South: Greater Brighton Metropolitan College and their network of colleges and schools.
  • London and South-East Christ The King sixth form College their network of colleges and schools.
  • North-West: Lakes College and their network of colleges and schools.
  • North-East: Northumberland College and their network of colleges and schools.
  • Wales: Pembrokeshire College and their network of colleges and schools
  • West and North Midlands: Stoke-on-Trent College and their network of colleges and schools
  • West and South Midlands: Hereford College of Art and their network of colleges and schools.
  • East Midlands and East Coast: Milton Keynes College – Greater than a Network of colleges and schools.
  • Yorkshire & Humberside: Leeds College of Building and their network of colleges and schools.
  • South West: City College Plymouth and their ‘MultiPlex’ network of colleges and schools.

News stories from previous FE Maths Challenges

Can I sponsor the FE Maths Challenge?

Yes, if you are interested in sponsoring the FE Maths Challenge at a local level or nationally, contact the FE Maths Challenge leader at [email protected]

For further details

Please contact the FE CPD team on [email protected] or on 01225 716495.