Making the Case for Further Mathematics
This information and these resources are provided to support mathematics departments in making the case for A level Further Mathematics provision in their institution.
To Students and their Parents
Studying Further Mathematics:
- is likely to increase their enjoyment of mathematics and improve their grade in A level Mathematics;
- broadens their mathematical skills and promotes deeper mathematical thinking;
- helps ensure a successful progression to mathematics-based subjects at university;
- is a requirement for entry to prestigious mathematics-based courses at leading universities and improves their chances of an offer at many others;
- is a way to make their university application stand out;
- is not just for students who want to become engineers or physicists.
Any student applying to study a science, technology, engineering, or other mathematics-related degree, such as economics, should consider taking Further Mathematics to at least AS level. AS level in Further Mathematics is accessible to lots of students.
Those students who had studied Further Mathematics to A or ASlevel standard reported coping better with the mathematical content of the degree, and as such perceived that they required less additional support throughout their studies.
Mind the Gap report 2010 – Institute of Physics
Download a summary of the above information to use as a handout for students and parents - Information for Students and Parents
Download a powerpoint presentation to use at an opening evening or assembly -
Why study mathematics sixth form open evening presentation
accompanying notes for the presentation.
To Senior Leaders
- The number of students taking A level Further Mathematics has increased each year for 13 years;
- In 2016 there were more than 15000 entries making Further Mathematics more popular than French, German, Spanish, PE, Law and ICT;
- Further Mathematics is one of the facilitating subjects as described by the Russell Group and the DfE;
- Most (68%) schools and colleges now offer A level Further Mathematics;
- A school/college that does not offer Further Mathematics is restricting the opportunities of some students wishing to apply for Mathematics, Physics and Engineering degrees at more prestigious universities;
- High achieving GCSE students may move to another school/college in order to study Further Mathematics;
- Further Mathematics is often taken as a 4th A level subject. There is a funding uplift for students following a large A level programme of 4 or more subjects;
- AS Further Mathematics is a useful option and is accessible to most A level Mathematics students;
- The opportunity to teach Further Mathematics is useful in the recruitment and retention of enthusiastic and well-qualified mathematics teachers;
- The experience of teachers and the FMSP in providing tuition to students in Further Mathematics also shows that taking Further Mathematics can have a significant positive impact on A level Mathematics performance;
- "Students who take both maths and further maths achieve substantially higher grades in their maths than comparable students who take maths alone" is the conclusion of ALIS, the Advanced Level Information System;
The full ALIS statement can be view here ALIS statement about Further Mathematics.
The ALIS statement refers to the aggregation rules which prioritise the A level Mathematics grade ahead of Further Mathematics. The expected grades provided by ALIS need to be interpreted with care as the Mathematics and Further Mathematics expected grades are not independent. The aggregation rules favour the grade in Mathematics. Hence it may be that value-added performance for Further Mathematics is not as good as for Mathematics. This should not result in weaker students being deterred or prevented from taking Further Mathematics as their performance should be evaluated alongside their performance in Mathematics. See further – Aggregation Rules for Further Mathematics.
Note: The aggregation rules will no longer apply for the new A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics specifications from 2017 as these qualifications are now indpendent.
Further Mathematics can be provided in cost-effective ways with support from the FMSP
- The FMSP provide resources such as Live Interactive Lectures for Further Mathematics to support student learning on reduced contact time. In addition, schools and colleges registering with the FMSP have access to free teaching materials through the Integral Online Resources.
- Schools and colleges can access high-quality, low cost CPD through the FMSP to develop A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics teaching and learning.
- FMSP Area Coordinators offer free advice and support to mathematics departments.
- The FMSP helps schools and colleges to work together in consortia to offer Further Mathematics and provides direct tuition, either face-to-face or online.
Download a summary of the information for senior leaders - Information for senior leaders