Recent rule changes from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) along with the Smith Inquiry’s strong endorsement of the need for Further Mathematics mean that there are now genuine grounds for optimism that numbers of students taking Further Mathematics qualifications will increase significantly. Universities can help to make this happen and it will be much to their benefit.
Further Mathematics has been in crisis with numbers falling by two thirds since 1980 to fewer than 5000 now. Many schools and colleges (from now on please read ‘schools’ to mean ‘schools and colleges’) have stopped offering it because small class sizes are not financially viable and the skills shortage in mathematics teachers means many do not have staff able to teach it. As a result large numbers of students who would have benefited from studying Further Mathematics have been denied access.