Mathematics still most popular A-level

The introduction of new GCSE and A-level Mathematics qualifications has not been easy. Students receiving their A-level results today have been the test subjects for both. The LMS warmly congratulates students and their teachers for their achievements in these difficult circumstances. 

It is fantastic that Mathematics is still the most popular A-level and that the number of students taking Further Mathematics has grown enormously in the past decade. These successes have been achieved through the hard work of teachers and numerous organisations. 

This should not be taken for granted -Further Mathematics A-level is currently very vulnerable. Schools are under pressure to restrict to three A-levels and Further Mathematics was often the fourth for many students. Furthermore, the large drop in AS entries means that many students no longer have a chance to sample Further Mathematics before taking the full A-level.

The media story today will be about grade boundaries. This issue will of course need to be dealt with, and we look forward to appropriate adjustments as the changes bed in.

However, the more important concern for the health of UK mathematics is the 18 percent fall in the number of UK applicants to study Mathematics at university.  A mathematically educated workforce is vital for the health and needs of the UK economy. A degree in Mathematics opens up many opportunities and improves life chances for individuals. 

Universities, schools, the government and the broader mathematical community must work together to ensure that the drop in applications is reversed and that confidence in Mathematics and Further Mathematics A-levels is maintained.

The London Mathematical Society looks forward to working with others on these issues.