Growing post-16 maths participation: promoting the benefits of Core Maths



This project aims to raise the profile of Core Maths, encourage its take-up in schools and colleges, and promote its benefits, particularly to HE, thereby contributing to the UK government’s ambition to increasepost-16 mathematics participation. Support for transition to and continuity within post-16 mathematics is particularly important in 2020, as students have endured an enforced break in their educational experience due to COVID-19.

To achieve these aims, we will collaborate with government-funded national education programmes, the Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP) and National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM), to co-produce materials such as blogs, infographics, podcasts, and short films, informed by our Nuffield Foundation-funded Core Maths research. The resources will demonstrate successful ways for centres to implement this new course.

Our data-rich modern democratic society demands mathematically literate citizens. The long-term impact on the economy which would result from widespread post-16 maths participation, an aspiration of the Industrial Strategy (2017), is clear. We will promote the benefits of studying Core Maths, including students’ increased mathematical confidence, emphasising how encouraging more students to take Core Maths would benefit HE study, employment, individuals’ life skills and wider society, potentially mitigating some of the impact of school closures in 2020.


  • Conceptual: The project will enhance knowledge exchange involving our academic findings and the real-world experiences of those who work to support and promote mathematics education in schools and colleges across the country, promoting the exchange of influence between academic research and classroom practice.
  • Instrumental: The resources developed will help promote behaviour changes in stakeholders, leading to more engagement (both pre- and post-16) with Core Maths as a course and as an approach to teaching and learning maths, thereby raising post-16 maths participation.
  • Capacity-building: The project will strengthen relationships which, in the longer term, will lead to greater influence of evidence across the mathematics education world, including in academia and in practice, and in policy making at local, institutional and national levels.

Publications and outputs

Projected outputs:

  • A series of online briefing documents, summarising aspects of findings from our Core Maths research which are particularly relevant to mathematics teachers, partner organisations who directly support mathematics teachers, and other professional bodies concerned with teachers, teaching and teacher education; and to HEIs.
  • Online resources such as podcasts and infographics, illustrating, for an audience of school and college leaders who make curriculum and funding decisions, the various ways in which Core Maths can be incorporated into the post-16 curriculum, since we know that schools and colleges cite practical, logistical barriers to including the course in their provision.
  • Joint online/face-to-face (as appropriate) meetings and workshop with local and national representatives of mathematics education support programmes, informing the preparation, and testing the suitability, of resources, in order to ensure optimum impact.
  • A series of short information films, aimed at particular audiences (students and schools/college maths staff/senior leaders; HE admissions staff), hosted on project website and YouTube.
  • Blogs for rapid reaction to maths education policy/news, disseminated via our Core Maths project website and a range of relevant social media channels.

Actual outputs

  • Core Maths report on which this project is founded:

  • First podcast:

  • Policy brief:

  • Festival of Social Science workshops, November 2020:

Project website