The attached policy document was published today that sets out the governments plans for post 16 Maths. I know most of you have “got” the fact that from Sept 2014 students who haven’t achieved a C at GCSE must continue to study Maths as part of their 16-19 education (in fact this is tied into the funding) but what about the other plans for post 16?
I’ve tried to summarise some of the main points:
Background About 20% of students with a C+ at GCSE go on to gain AS or A level. Over 80 % of those studying AS or A level have an A*/A grade at GCSE. The document then states the obvious (in my opinion!) less than 10% of students with a B (at GCSE) went onto A level and less than 1% of students with a C (at GCSE).
The aim is to introduce a new “Core Maths” which will
1) focus on those students that do achieve a grade C at GCSE but don’t continue with maths (stating this is over 200,000 students per year!) .
2) Funding is being made available for teaching trials to develop these quals further – along with funding a support programmes.
3) Proposed changes (again!) to be incorporated into school performance measures that recognise the proportion of students gaining level 3 maths quals (obviously subject to DFEs consultation).
TWO THINGS JUMP RIGHT OUT AT ME:
Where are all the teachers going to come from? The opening line of this document states “The government has set out an ambition for the overwhelming majority of young people in England to study mathematics at least to age 18 by 2020.” Wow! Wow! Wow! and I’m not sure if that’s in a good way .. the words “overwhelming majority” scares me a little. Doing a “back of a fag packet” calculation, and very broad interpretation of those words, at our school alone the impact is: assuming 50% of our 6th form, with 100 in year 12 who aren’t doing A level, having say 3 hours a week with 3 and a half classes means we don’t have enough teachers! and I haven’t even “done the maths”. My new PGCE student is only on a 11-16 pathway, and there are so many more teachers who will need upskilling too … I’ve also spoken to local universities and know that recruitment onto the Maths courses has been tough.
The link to performance measures worries me too – reading between the lines I suspect that this may also end up being linked to funding too .. surely not? Maybe I’m just being cynical or its just the sheer thought of teaching students (post 16), that have worked their little cotton socks off to get a C, hoping to never have to sit in my classroom again because in the words of “Henry” (I taught him a couple of years ago) … “No offence Miss, but Maths just ain’t my bag”.
Nowt to panic about and we can only work with the cards we are dealt. I would suggest you read the document for yourself and its interesting that the timescales on page 10 seem totally unrealistic (well, they do to me), which may mean that it either gets shelved or gets rushed through without much thought, or even worse gets rushed through without any thought whilst we are all looking the other way and focussing on KS3 and KS4 … hmmm