The Post-14 Mathematics Inquiry

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| Policy/Strategy | Parents/learners | Teaching Resources | Curriculum | Pedagogy | Qualifications/Assessment | Role of ICT | User Requirements |

Input Factors

Why is mathematics important?
Should mathematics retain its central place in and share of the school curriculum?
Does the UK need an increasing number of people with more than minimum qualifications in mathematics to remain globally competitive?
Should the pool of those studying mathematics in post-compulsory schooling be increased and, if so, how?
What is government's role?
What should the regulatory bodies' roles be?
How do funding regimes influence the supply of students?
What role can specialist schools and other initiatives to promote learning play?
Is there a lack of congruence between particular levels/stages, if so what needs to be changed?
Should there be greater national effort put into promoting mathematics and, if so, how should it be focussed?
^ List of questions
What are the characteristics and expectations of learners entering the supply chain at each level of attainment?
What are young people's and their parents' perceptions of mathematics - relevance and difficulty?
Are accountability structures influencing pupil, school and public attitudes to mathematics (league tables, UCAS points, funding of courses, etc)?
How can mathematics be marketed to attract and retain learners?
^ List of questions
Teaching Resources
Are there sufficient subject teachers for each level of learning now?
Are there potential risks with the age profile of teachers?
How can more suitably qualified applicants be encouraged to enter the mathematics teaching profession?
What is the turnover of maths teachers? Is this higher than for other subjects? How can it be reduced?
What factors determine the retention of qualified teachers of mathematics?
Are subject and non- maths specialist teachers deployed in the most effective way?
What should be the basic levels of subject knowledge of mathematics for teachers of different age groups?
What needs to be put in place to guarantee the continuing professional development of teachers? And updating of subject knowledge?
Should we be making use of resources from HE such as students as teaching assistants?
^ List of questions
What is the core of mathematical knowledge and skills needed by all to function in society and be employable?
Should there be a 14-19 curriculum in mathematics with different pathways for different groups of students?
If there is a wide range of demands should we be seeking to offer a wider range of curricula earlier; e.g. Key Stage 4, 16-18 (or comparable in Scotland)?
Are there clear progression routes between levels?
Is the curriculum pitched correctly at KS4? If not, what changes are needed?
Is the relationship between KS3 and KS4 right?
Should some components be mandatory and some optional at each level from KS4; if so, what and why?
Is the content of GCE AS and A Level Mathematics pitched appropriately? If not, why not?
How should applications of mathematics be embedded in the learning of mathematics?
Can mathematics be made more accessible without compromising its integrity?
Is the delivery of the curriculum being unduly driven by too much assessment?
Will an undue emphasis on the world of work and work-based learning give a distorted picture of how mathematics ought to be taught and experienced?
Does emphasis on numeracy skills through the acquisition of the Application of Number qualification distort the true educational needs with regard to the development of mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills?
Should HE be expected to provide new students from different learning backgrounds and attainments with a common core of necessary knowledge and skills or should schools and colleges provide this core knowledge?
Does the content of first degrees provide an adequate and consistent platform for further study and employment?
^ List of questions
Are the current styles of teaching most effective?
How can the pedagogic skills of teachers be improved?
How can pedagogy retain the interest of students but ensure they understand concepts and principles?
What can we learn for KS4 plus from the implementation of the mathematics strand of the National Strategy for KS3 and, more indirectly, the National Numeracy Strategy?
Should we be seeking greater consistency across HE curricula and HE approach to teaching?
Are there other beneficial aids to learning/techniques that are not used now or could be better used?
How is teaching influenced by the pursuit of qualifications and is this influence benign?
To what extent does the use of ICT impact on the quality of mathematics teaching?
^ List of questions
How and how often should learning be tested/measured?
Is the current amount of assessment right?
Is the current balance between internal and external assessment right?
There is a range of relevant qualifications serving different purposes; how well are these understood?
Are relevant qualifications consistent with the curricula they are intended to measure?
Do qualifications measure relevant learning?
What structure of qualification(s) is needed to address fully general, HE and employment needs at different levels?
Are there gaps or unnecessary/confusing overlaps in the mathematics qualifications on offer?
Are the internal structures and sizes of qualifications the most appropriate?
Is the GCSE examination itself appropriate? Does it adequately prepare for GCE Mathematics at one end and for calculation skills at the other end?
Are the traditional AS and A level Mathematics courses appropriate for all students who already have GCSE Mathematics at C or above?
Is A level Mathematics an adequate preparation for university courses with a high mathematics requirement?
How can we ensure that the best mathematical minds are not switched off prematurely through a lack of stimulation and challenge? What role is there for more advanced qualifications such as GCE Further Mathematics and the Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics?
Is the current structure of awarding bodies delivering mathematics and numeracy qualifications the most effective?
Are there options for measuring attainment other than qualifications that would be acceptable to employers/HE?
What influences do government performance tables and targets have on qualifications and assessment developments?
^ List of questions
Role of ICT
What is the impact of ICT on the nature of the discipline itself?
What is the impact of ICT on pupils' motivation?
How is ICT used to support pupil learning and what difference does it make?
What further scope is there to develop and effectively use ICT for learning?
How can ICT be better used to support teacher education?
How can ICT be better used as an administrative tool to support teachers/lecturers, the assessment process etc?
What demands does the use of ICT in mathematics make on teachers?
^ List of questions

User Requirements

What subject areas/disciplines (post-compulsory education) have an interest in mathematical capability?
What does each of the above need in terms of content at each level?
Can these needs be grouped?
What should be the role of Universities in promoting and enhancing the study of mathematics in mathematics and related disciplines, and in improving the interface between secondary and higher education?
Is there a common baseline of knowledge and skills needed by (a) all young people (b) all those entering HE (c) all those entering HE to study key disciplines.
What occupational sectors have a mathematical skills requirement?
Within each sector how does this requirement differ at different levels and between different occupations?
Is there a core requirement?
How do employer and HE needs differ?
Are these needs likely to change significantly over time and can we predict how over specific periods (e.g. 5, 10, 20 years)?
How can these changes be monitored?

^ List of questions

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