Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

Mathematics for all to 18

044Set out below are some of ACME's positions on pre- and post-16 qualifications. Further detail can be found under specific policy pages. An update from autumn 2016 is available here.

Pre-16 qualifications

ACME has published a range of documentation and engaged with various stakeholders on GCSE and key stage 4 mathematics, and has outlined positions on the aims of key stage 4 mathematics, the size and scope of a new GCSE qualifications, as well tiering and grading. If you want to know more about ACME's engagement, please see here. Some of these documents are outlined in more detail here.

Some key ACME principles on GCSE Mathematics include:

GCSE Mathematics

Learning should build on the range of mathematics at Key Stages 1-3 developing fluency in skills and techniques, improving mathematical reasoning and supporting the development of problem solving skills.

Throughout Key Stage 4 students should use and enjoy mathematics which they recognise as relevant and empowering, and should make significant progress to be well-equipped to continue learning mathematics post-16.

Assessment at 16 should recognise mathematics knowledge, skills and understanding of the range of young people, and should lead to a small range of recognised and valued mathematics pathways in post-16 education, employment or training.


Post-16 qualifications

In 2010, a study supported by the Nuffield Foundation, Is the UK an Outlier?, found that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland less than a fifth of students study any mathematics after 16. In the same year, CBI reported on the business priorities for numeracy and maths, highlighting the UK's need for young people to continue mathematical education post-16.

Numerous studies have also highlighted the importance of continuing mathematical studies when progressing to higher education, including the HEA report on the mathematical transitions at university.

ACME's policy work on post-16 mathematics focuses on three main groups of students. Some of this work is developed, while other aspects are still under discussion.


Working towards GCSE Mathematics Taking Core Maths Taking AS/ A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics


ACME is considering whether an alternative level 2 qualification would better meet the needs of those who reach 16 without GCSE Mathematics and who must work towards a GCSE Mathematics qualification.


ACME was a key player in calling for a new post-16 mathematics for those students who attained at least a grade C at GCSE but who did not choose to take AS/ A level Mathematics. The Core Maths qualifications were announced in 2014.


ACME has provided advice throughout the recent reform of AS/ A levels, and strongly argued for the delay of their introduction until 2017.

If you would like a complete list of ACME publications on post-16 mathematics, please see here.

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