Maths Premium

Advanced Maths Premium

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The Advanced Maths Premium is additional funding for post-16 providers to support increased participation in level 3 mathematics. The Premium was first announced by the government in the Autumn 2017 Budget statement - section 5.8, and accompanies other measures to improve provision for mathematics and increase participation, such as relaxing the A level Further Maths grade required to C or above for students studying a large programme in order to be eligible for the funding uplift.

The Premium is part of the government’s response to recommendations in Professor Sir Adrian Smith’s review of post-16 mathematics, July 2017.

The Department for Education should reconsider the institutional incentives and disincentives arising from the 16-19 funding model for schools and colleges, with a view to removing disincentives for mathematics provision; As an urgent and immediate measure, it should consider increasing the financial incentive for both AS and A level further mathematics within four/five A level programmes and consider providing a funding incentive for student programmes which include core maths.

Recommendation 6

In February 2018 the Department for Education produced guidance for schools and colleges on how the Advanced Maths Premium would be calculated. Summary of the guidance:

  • The funding is for each additional student, above a baseline, studying a level 3 maths qualification.
  • The baseline is calculated from the mean number of students studying level 3 maths qualifications in academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17. For any new school, college or other provider (with the exception of maths schools), including those that do not have student numbers in academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the national average of students studying qualifications that attract the premium for their type of provider will be used to determine the baseline.
  • Data from the Individualised Learner Records (ILRs) and October census data will be used to find the number of students.
  • Core Maths and AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics qualifications, along with AS/A level Statistics, and a number of other similar qualifications, are considered as level 3 mathematics qualifications. (Annex J of this document provides a list of eligible qualifications).
  • The first year for the Premium is academic year 2018-19.
  • The Premium will be paid in funding allocations in 2019-20 and for the following 2 years in the first instance.
  • The Premium is paid at a rate of £600 per year per 'additional' student for one year, for AS level equivalent courses, or two years, for A level or equivalent courses.
  • A student studying Maths and Further Maths will be counted twice in the same year.

This additional funding will increase opportunity and choice for more pupils to take maths at A or AS level, potentially with further maths alongside. Additionally, many more, who do not choose A level maths, will be able to study core maths, including those who wish to go on to study non- mathematical degrees that still require good quantitative skills.

Department for Education, February 2018

An example of how the premium will be calculated is given below:

Qualification2015-162016-17Baseline2018-19
AS level Mathematics3028290
A level Mathematics23151947
AS level Further Mathematics4024
A level Further Mathematics1534
Total58485355

In this case the Advanced Maths Premium for payment in the 2019-20 funding allocation is 2 x £600 = £1200. (In this example the figures include students in Year 12 and 13 of A level courses and Year 12 of AS level courses. Students studying AS/A level Maths and Further Maths are counted once in each category.)

Increasing participation in Further Mathematics

The FMSP has supported schools and colleges, for many years, to maintain and increase provision for AS/A level Further Mathematics. We know that for some institutions it is a challenge to continue to offer Further Mathematics due to funding constraints, changes to the “standard” A level offer for students and having sufficient teaching capacity.

The webpages furthermaths.org.uk/promoting-fm and furthermaths.org.uk/offering-fm contain advice and guidance on how to overcome some of these barriers to offering Further Mathematics. In particular you will find help and advice about:

The Advanced Maths Premium should help some schools and colleges to maintain their provision for Further Mathematics and encourage others to increase participation. Schools and colleges should consider making available the opportunity for students to study AS level Further Mathematics in Year 12 or 13, even if they are unlikely to study the full A level. The additional mathematics covered is accessible to a wide range of students and will benefit students going on to study a STEM degree.

Over 50% of students taking A level Further Mathematics do so as part of a 4 or more A level programme. Since academic year 2016-17 students qualify for the Large Programme Uplift, which is an additional 10% (or 20%) funding uplift if they achieve a grade B or better in all their subjects. The government have announced that from 2018-19, students studying A level Further Mathematics as part of a large programme will qualify for the uplift funding if they achieve a grade C in Further Mathematics, and the remainder of their results are at grade B or better. This measure is designed to remove the potential disincentive not to enrol students on Further Mathematics courses. More guidance here on offering Further Mathematics as part of a 3 or 4 A level programme.

For more information about how the FMSP can support your school/college to offer Further Maths contact your local FMSP Area Coordinator. Their contact details on our regional pages.


Increasing participation in AS level Mathematics

Many students can greatly benefit from taking AS level Mathematics, even if they don’t continue to full A level. Schools and colleges which have withdrawn the option for students in Year 12 to study for AS levels should consider reinstating this option to increase participation in mathematics and benefit from the additional Advanced Maths Premium funding. See the example below.


Increasing participation in Core Maths

Core Maths is a level 3 mathematics qualification equivalent in size to an AS level qualification. These qualifications were introduced in 2014 as a result of recommendations made in reports such as Mathematical Needs and Is the UK an Outlier?. Studying Core Maths provides students with the opportunity to develop and use the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding they have gained at GCSE and to develop their problem solving skills in realistic contexts so that they are better able to use mathematical skills in their future life, work and study.

Students who would otherwise have dropped mathematics, after passing it at GCSE, in favour of taking other subjects should be offered the opportunity to study Core Maths alongside their A level subjects. The Advanced Maths Premium will help schools and colleges to provide the resources to teach Core Maths so that many more students will be better equipped mathematically for employment or university study. In the example above, where a school has not previously had any students studying Core Maths, introducing the course may dramatically increase the number of students studying level 3 mathematics. For more details about Core Maths, see: furthermaths.org.uk/core-maths.

An example of how reinstating AS level Maths option and introducing a Core Maths course in Year 12 could affect the Premium:

Qualification2015-162016-17Baseline2018-19
AS level Mathematics only30282915
A level Mathematics23151935
AS level Further Mathematics4024
A level Further Mathematics1534
Core Maths00015
Total58485373

In this case the Advanced Maths Premium for payment in the 2019-20 funding allocation is 20 x £600 = £12000.


Investigating the impact of curriculum and funding changes on level 3 mathematics uptake

There has been much speculation that the changes to post-16 funding, the de-coupling of AS and A level qualifications and curriculum for mathematics at GCSE and A level will result in a reduction in participation in level 3 mathematics.

The 2017-18 academic year is a key year, following the first sitting of the new, more challenging, GCSE Mathematics examinations, and being the first year of teaching of new specifications for AS/A levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Hence, at the end of the autumn 2017 term, MEI conducted a national survey of schools and colleges offering A levels to try to establish how uptake of mathematics AS/A levels and Core Maths has changed between academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18.

There were responses from over 500 schools and colleges. Comparing 2017-18 with 2016-17, the survey analysis suggests:

  1. There has been an overall reduction (just under 10%) in the number of Year 12 students starting AS/A level Mathematics.
  2. The number of students starting AS/A level Further Mathematics has not changed significantly.
  3. The uptake of Core Maths continues to grow.
  4. Overall, there has been an increase in the GCSE Mathematics grades which schools and colleges require students to achieve before allowing them to start AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics programmes.

In addition to these findings the survey also looked at the “standard” A level offer for students starting courses in Year 12 and the way schools and colleges organised the teaching of A level Further Mathematics courses.
The full report and a separate executive summary can be found on the MEI website.