Could Core Maths help get students back on track after Covid-19?

Due to national lockdown measures imposed as a result of Covid-19, students have been away from the traditional classroom for an extended period of time which is expected to have impacted learning.

With the backdrop of Covid-19, the publication of the School of Education’s report The Early Take-up of Core Maths: successes and challenges has come at a critical time.

The report is a culmination of work from a three-year study which included analysis of national data, interviews with staff and students at 13 educational institutions across the UK, and an online survey. The project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the final report was co-authored by Dr HomerDr MathiesonInnocent Tasara and Dr Banner.

According to the report, “core maths could be the key to boosting post-16 students’ numeracy skills after six months away from the classroom”. Dr Homer explains that “Core Maths is a great way for students to ease back into mathematical thinking after a long absence from the classroom”.

Core Maths was introduced six years ago to improve critical thinking and problem-solving related to real-life experiences. The report shows that students who have taken Core Maths generally find the course useful as there is a clear link to the ‘real world’ where the mathematical skills learnt can be applied to everyday life. However, despite the positive responses from students and the qualification being well-regarded by teachers, uptake has been limited.

The report addresses the fact that the qualification has faced multiple challenges which has hindered its potential and concludes that “for Core Maths to really become embedded in the system, the government needed to fund it properly and higher education needed to recognise its purpose”. Therefore, Core Maths could have an important role to play in helping students in light of Covid-19, and in generally improving the quantitative skills in the population, but there needs to be a shift of policy to support better the qualification and make it a greater success.

Read coverage in the Times Educational Supplement.