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Additional maths

(28 Posts)
Sparty Fri 12-Aug-16 16:31:57

My son is at a comprehensive (1200 pupils) and going into year 10, they are not offering additional maths. My son usually gets the highest grades in his year and has won a number of maths competitions. Should we arrange for him to study additional maths outside of school? (He thinks he wants to do maths at Uni)

JustRichmal Fri 12-Aug-16 23:35:21

Having had a dd who did additional maths, I would say it is not necessary. I would, instead, let him look at whatever in the A level syllabus he fancies getting his head round so he is well prepared. If he wants to go beyond GCSE in the next two years, this will be the time when he has time to really think about some of the more complex concepts, without the pressure of an exam looming. A levels can either be approached by learning the formulae or asking why that formula is so. He has the time now to do the later, and does not need to be chasing an extra piece of paper for this to happen.

mathsmum314 Fri 12-Aug-16 23:41:11

Same situation, no answer. All schools seem to have stopped offering additional maths due to the new GCSE. Don't know what to do.

mathsmum314 Fri 12-Aug-16 23:44:03

JustRichmal, its not about an additional piece of paper. Its about spending 2 years doing piss easy maths that they can get an A* in when they are sleeping!

MsMermaid Fri 12-Aug-16 23:48:31

We've always offered additional maths in the past but have stopped now because of the new GCSE syllabus. It contains more than it used to and it is difficult to know how pupils will cope with it until the first couple of years have been through it and we have some papers to see standards.

Personally, I wouldn't try to get him doing it outside of school, concentrate on the maths GCSE and getting a grade 9. I'm saying that as both a maths teacher and the parent of a gifted mathematician. I would have got dd doing it on her own if her school hadn't offered it, but she did the old style GCSE and could have got an a* in yr 9. I wouldn't bother under the new style GCSE.

Don't worry about going to uni to study maths, they don't require additional maths GCSE. They are far more interested in a level subjects, will he be able to study further maths A level? Even that isn't necessarily a requirement as so many schools don't offer it.

JustRichmal Sat 13-Aug-16 07:41:30

MsMermaid, could I ask what will be in the new GCSE which was not in the old one?

Mathsmum, I do appreciate the problem of the maths at school being too easy for some children, but the OP was thinking of doing extra work outside school. As a parent who has gone through similar, I really think spending time messing around with logs, radians, graphs of quadratics, Pascal's triangle etc and really getting a feel for what makes them work would be a better use of time.

Sparty Sat 13-Aug-16 08:36:25

Thanks for the replies, they are really helpful. This year (year 9) my DS had an uninspiring teacher and his interest dropped from favorite subject to least favorite, having failed to shake the school into any meaningful action, my wife (is that DW or OW?) hired a maths tutor with the sole aim of re-kindling his fascination with maths, this seems to have worked and from your replies I feel we should simply carry on as we are.

Ilovetea82 Sat 13-Aug-16 08:50:30

I can't comment on the current curriculum but when I studied maths for GCSE I also studied add maths. Maths then bore very little relation to what we studied at a level so I was glad to have had an introduction to 'proper maths'
When applying to uni (engineering) and at their interviews I was asked about the additional maths so from that point it was good to be able to talk about it.
Would it be possible for your son to do his normal maths gcse in one year and then use the time to study the additional maths in the next? I think it would be worth looking outside the school for it, or seeing if they can accommodate it in any way.

catslife Sat 13-Aug-16 11:49:38

My understanding is that the new Maths 9-1 GCSE will be much better preparation for the new linear Maths A level than the current syllabus so perhaps that is why fewer schools will be offering it.
The school where I work is still offering GCSE statistics to the more able pupils. Early entry for GCSEs, as described by the previous poster, is being strongly discouraged now and may not be possible given the additional and more difficult content for the new 9-1 qualification and the lack of past papers etc.
dds school on the other hand, has never offered additional Maths GCSE and yet still manages to stretch the most able pupils at both GCSE and A level.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 14-Aug-16 09:48:19

I know that the new GCSE has suvat equations in it (from ds).

Ds's school do do ad maths but his set seem to have spent most of y10 doing A level topics anyway (it's a very mathsy school). Neither of my daughters' schools (one grammar, one comp) offered it, but it doesn't seem to have disadvantaged anyone: lots of FM students, maths degrees at good unis, etc.

I like Richmal's advice. He should make sure his algebra skills are excellent too smile

haybott Sun 14-Aug-16 10:05:58

Should we arrange for him to study additional maths outside of school?

No, additional maths is completely unnecessary with the vast majority of maths undergraduates not having done it. You'd be better off spending time doing UKMT, Olympiad etc.

The new maths curriculum in any case has more content and more challenging questions. I would run a mile from GCSE statistics. It overlaps with the stats content of A level (making the latter more boring), is pretty boring and bears little relation to maths (as opposed to stats) at university. I think GCSE stats is most useful for bright students who aren't planning to take A level maths.

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Aug-16 10:36:35

Richmal page 5 and 6 of this document shows what's new to both tiers and new to just the higher tier, and also what's been dropped:

Suvat isn't there. They were going to have kinematics but didn't, they might be asked to use the equations but will be given them as part of the question.

The poster who said no one needs additional maths is wrong, there was a big gap between GCSE and A-level and many bright students crashed and burned in Y12. The additional/further maths qualifications were designed to bridge that gap and make A-level more accessible.

No one knows how the new GCSE will pan out, the higher tier doesn't have further maths topics on it like calculus, but it is substantially more difficult than the old paper. Whether there will still be a gap to A-level is unknown because we are only just starting to get through the syllabus and sample assessment materials.

I love the further maths GCSE (never taught additional maths) so if your DS is bright and bored with GCSE then it would be fun. However, there is pre-calculus on the new GCSE (finding gradients by drawing tangents and finding areas by estimating) so as further maths teaches calculus he would have to be careful to use the appropriate method for each syllabus.

JustRichmal Sun 14-Aug-16 10:47:11

If some of the A level content is being put into GCSE, will there be more content in A level?

Will there still be a choice outside the core study or will it be two big exams at the end incorporating elements of D, M and S modules?

Are there any websites which explain the new A level in simple terms?

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Aug-16 10:55:58

There is new stuff in A-level like we're going to be given a large data set that they are expected to be familiar with and do stats on in the exam. Probability tables are going from formula booklets, they'll need a calculator that does them (currently £££). Normal distribution is coming in for all. Decision as an option is completely removed for A-level, everyone will sit the same 3 papers which will mix up all the core stuff, plus mechanics and stats. No options at all.
Further Maths will still have options.

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Aug-16 10:59:27

Changes to A-level summarised here:

haybott Sun 14-Aug-16 11:06:19

The additional/further maths qualifications were designed to bridge that gap and make A-level more accessible.

True, but nonetheless many/most maths undergraduates (who got As and higher at maths A level) actually have not done additional/further maths because their schools didn't offer it. I do not know a state school in my county which has offered further/additional (although some do stats GCSE with their top sets).

I would argue that Olympiad/UKMT would help bridge the gap also.

JustRichmal Sun 14-Aug-16 11:12:14

Thank you Noble for that quick response. That is just what I was looking for.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 14-Aug-16 12:59:28

Suvat isn't there. They were going to have kinematics but didn't, they might be asked to use the equations but will be given them as part of the question.

Oh right, that must have been what ds's teacher meant then. Thanks for all the bits of info!

mathsmum314 Sun 14-Aug-16 17:39:03

Still not heard anything in the new maths gcse that will challenge bright children. School has said they wont let DC do exam early. So another 2 years of destroying enjoyment in maths.

Have decided to help DC do OCR additional maths externally. Even if he doesn't do the exam at least I can try and keep the fun in maths. If only home schooling was an option! sigh!

TeenAndTween Sun 14-Aug-16 19:22:21

OP. Not commenting on the maths side, but your wife is presumably your Dear Wife and not an Other Woman. smile

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Aug-16 20:06:59

haybott but you see the really good ones that made it through anyway, I've seen the ones that crash, burn and drop out of maths by the end of Y12.

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Aug-16 20:25:30

mathsmum these are quite nice

haybott Mon 15-Aug-16 12:23:16

I've seen the ones that crash, burn and drop out of maths by the end of Y12.

But OP is worried about lack of additional maths in the context of her DC wanting to do maths at university. Any kid who is capable of making the large step up from maths at school to maths at university would trivially be able to make the smaller step up from GCSE to AS/A2 (even with relatively poor tuition).

The crash and burn in y12 is certainly a big issue, but I would be curious to know to what extend this is actually avoided by additional maths GCSE. Do you have any data on this subject?

noblegiraffe Mon 15-Aug-16 14:09:18

haybott but it would be a shame to think that only the brightest high-fliers who sail through school maths should do maths at uni. I had a sixth former who decided in y13 that they wanted to do a maths degree, they got a B, but got a place at uni and I think got a 2:1.

I don't know if there is any actual data on whether further/additional maths do bridge the gap to A-level as they were designed to. It would be hard to tease out as some schools use the course with A grade students to help with A-level retention, but others only allow their best A* maths students to take it, to stretch them.

haybott Mon 15-Aug-16 16:38:01

I had a sixth former who decided in y13 that they wanted to do a maths degree, they got a B, but got a place at uni and I think got a 2:1.

But this is unusual. Amongst the top 30 or 40 maths departments in the UK, the vast majority of those who got less than an A at A level maths drop out or get poor degrees (mid 2:2 or below) in maths. Only the lowest 20 or so departments take less than an A for maths (even in Clearing) but they correspondingly adjust the content and level of their courses - to the extent that they probably wouldn't be called maths degrees outside the UK.

For a student who has grades such as AAB or ABB with the B in maths, I would think it is more appropriate for them to do degrees at higher tier universities in subjects other than maths, rather than to do maths degrees at the lowest tier universities. For a student with grades such as BBC or BCC with B in maths, maybe maths at a lower tier university might be a good option but as I said above many such maths degrees don't contain so much traditional university level maths (very little pure maths, for example).

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