Education Development Trust [operating at the time as CfBT Education Trust] was selected to introduce a new Core Maths qualification with a focus on problem solving rather than theory, designed for students who had a GCSE grade C or above in mathematics but who were not planning to take the subject at A-level.
The Department for Education (the DfE) in England identified that employers in the UK were concerned about the lack of 'real life' maths skills of students joining the workforce. The UK government decided to introduce a Core Maths qualification with a focus on problem solving rather than theory, designed for students who had a GCSE grade C or above in mathematics but who were not planning to take the subject at A-level. This practical, everyday maths course taken alongside A-level or further education courses, extended and revitalised maths learning and knowledge of 16 to 18 year old students, who leave school with a better understanding and ability to use mathematics not only in the work environment, but in study at higher education and in everyday life.
Education Development Trust was selected as the partner because of our expertise and experience of implementing large-scale, nationwide, education and skills improvement programmes, coupled with our research-informed approach. Our ability to deliver clear communications programmes was also essential in this programme, to achieve a rapid and effective schools recruitment plan. The ultimate aim over the longer term was for schools and colleges to be ready to deliver the new qualification to a majority of post-16 students by 2020.
World-class maths curriculum
We used our global network of world-leading maths experts from Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, China and England to ensure the curriculum design and content was based on world-class mathematics. This new qualification, aimed at students who feared maths or doubted their ability to learn maths as well as those who liked the subject but did not want to take it to A-level, required a new approach from Core Maths teachers to engage and enthuse their students.
We led the way in defining the teaching approach to ensure teachers maximised the impact of the qualification. Using our networks and our marketing skills, we recruited and trained Core Maths leads in schools and colleges on how best to deliver Core Maths, using our research-informed, 'sector-led' approach to school improvement. Schools and colleges on the programme have access to initial Core Maths training workshops, focused on developing Core Maths related teaching skills and knowledge.
Peer led school improvement and personal development
Aligned with UK government policy, the Core Maths Support Programme has been embedded using a hub based, sustainable approach where local schools can support each other and drive best practice. By closely supporting the hubs and peer-to-peer sharing, we were able to build belief and confidence in the new style of teaching as well as in the new curriculum in the hubs, so building a sustainable base of enthused and competent teachers. Maintaining the number of teachers required to deliver the programme also needs systematic investment, so Education Development Trust has developed highly skilled advisory teachers, who are: