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Further Maths at GCSE

(38 Posts)
EtVoilaBrexit Thu 22-Nov-18 16:54:05

Dc1 is in Y10. And needing to decide whether it’s worth doing further maths gcse or not.
Atm, school is saying that maths gcse is enough to do alevel maths (level 8 required though) but not further maths.
They also say that what they are doing in further maths wintbmake any difference in Alevel as the subjects covered are different.

So my question is, if this is the case, why bothering to do further maths? All the bright pupils are going for it so there is the risk hecwill end up will the ones that are not as good and be bored. But...

OP’s posts: |
lebkuchenlover Thu 22-Nov-18 17:55:48

Our school offers Additional Maths (ocr) in year 11 in addition to GCSE Maths and it seems a good bridge between GCSE and A level Maths. Not sure about Further Maths though?

LIZS Thu 22-Nov-18 18:02:13

Dd did both Add Maths and Further Maths. She says there is a lot of overlap between them. If only FM is on offer you have to really want to do extra and spend time on it. She says it is particularly worthwhile if you plan to take Maths and/or Sciences at A level, as the Pure Maths gives a head-start and good basis for carrying on.

ShalomJackie Thu 22-Nov-18 18:03:35

If he is likely to do Maths A level and has the option to do it then he should. Ot keeps the brain operating mathematically and does actually feed into A level work that will be re-covered at A level. My ds didn't do it but everyone else in his Maths A level did so subsequently they sped through somè stuff that he would have preferred to have spent a bit longer on because the basics had been covered in FM

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Nov-18 18:11:17

It does cover some stuff which is on A-level so helps bridge the gap but isn’t as necessary as before as the new GCSE has been beefed up (although still doesn’t have calculus).

I’ve got some kids in my top set Y11 who have basically finished the GCSE syllabus and will get 8s and 9s in their mocks before Christmas so they’ll be doing further maths otherwise they’ll be bored doing revision of stuff they’ve already mastered between now and May. The other kids in the group will need that revision time and will be focusing on getting a higher grade at GCSE.

EtVoilaBrexit Thu 22-Nov-18 18:49:10

Thank you all.
I had the distinct feeling that I have been fobbed off with the explanation that dc just didn’t need further maths and would be fine with just maths...

OP’s posts: |
Witchend Thu 22-Nov-18 18:51:02

If they're going for a further maths qualification, then better to do additional maths. Dd1 said that it was very quickly clear who had done ad maths when she started A-level but not who'd done further.

lebkuchenlover Thu 22-Nov-18 18:55:44

My dd also found Add Maths very helpful for A level Maths. Further Maths isn't offered at our school.

Does anyone know the difference between Add Maths and Further Maths at GCSE?

LIZS Thu 22-Nov-18 19:04:48

Dd says Add Maths does not cover matrices and is one paper ( calculator) FM does and is 2 papers ( one calculator, one non) . At least was in 2017.

EtVoilaBrexit Fri 23-Nov-18 08:27:06

Add maths? I had never come across that one!
Ok I need to investigate more again.

OP’s posts: |
AChickenCalledKorma Fri 23-Nov-18 08:36:04

Additional maths is a level 3 qualification - ie a step up from GCSE. It's designed for very able students who are ready for an introduction to A level type work :

Further maths is an additional GCSE aimed at able mathematicians, but is still a level 2 qualification:

It's unlikely your school will offer both, as they are completely different courses.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 23-Nov-18 10:26:13

Although she intended to drop it DD has been persuaded to keep going with Add Maths for the reasons given by Noble above; the GCSE syllabus was completed in Y10.

Also, last year was the first year the school sat Edexcel GCSE maths and apparently the boundaries were very low and nearly half the year got 9s. The Maths dept are now advising anyone who didn't get a high 9 to think carefully about taking maths as an A level. Previously it was A* to do A level which should be an 8 or a 9. I don't know what the boundary was last year but I hope high 9 leaves some wiggle room for doing something stupid in the exam. If not at least a strong Add maths result will help.

EtVoilaBrexit Fri 23-Nov-18 12:22:15

Thanks you.
It looks like the Edexcel is also easier then....
Hmm ok lots to think about...

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Winterwonderland12 Fri 23-Nov-18 14:06:26

I was also surprised how many mistakes you could make and still get a 9 in this summer's Maths GCSE exam. The last few questions were very difficult and it seems you didn't need their marks to get the top grade, a 9!

Whilst I am happy for my dd (who got a 9), it's not really differentiating between her and those kids who do manage to do all of most of the questions. Maybe we need s grade 10 for the truly top Mathematicians!

Winterwonderland12 Fri 23-Nov-18 14:07:20

But yes, OCR Add Maths seems a great introduction to A level Maths.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 23-Nov-18 14:39:05

Winterwonderland - you are echoing the Maths dept advice. Apparently if you struggled with the algebra type questions at the end of the paper then the chances are you would struggle at A level so think carefully about whether or not it's right for you.

It does seem bloody ridiculous telling a DC with a 9 in Maths that they may struggle at A level.

Dimetrodon Sat 24-Nov-18 00:46:13

If you want to study for a maths degree then further maths GCSE and therefore A level is standard requirement for top universities. FM is also looked on very favourably if you are interested in engineering degrees. Some schools have limited places for FM A level. Ask them how many take A level FM.

Michaelahpurple Sat 24-Nov-18 08:05:01

Neither of the two schools I know best -Eton and Westminster - offer further maths at all. Westminster used to, but stopped when the maths GCSEs changed. Perhaps they will introduce it as things settle. Maths is I think the most popular A level there so it can’t be obligatory. Perhaps they just teach extension but don’t examine it if you see what I mean

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 24-Nov-18 09:41:28

Further Maths A level may well be a requirement for some maths degrees. Further Maths GCSE isn't a requirement on any course I've looked at recently. Lots and lots of schools don't offer anything additional to Maths at GCSE.

BewareOfDragons Sat 24-Nov-18 09:51:54

My oldest is only in Y9, but is already expecting to be put forward for the Additional Maths. My understanding is the school will only allow its top maths students to sit it anyway.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sat 24-Nov-18 10:40:27

Michaela - DD's school, which is selectiveish but a lot less academic than either of those schools, also thought about stopping Add Maths but kept it at the last minute for the top 2 sets. They also swapped from IGCSE to the new GCSE and are very surprised at how many pupils are getting top grades. It seems ridiculous for a school like W to have given up the challenge of Add Maths for what, according to the upturn in results, looks like on results an easier exam.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Nov-18 10:47:01

The Maths dept are now advising anyone who didn't get a high 9 to think carefully about taking maths as an A level.

Blimey, there speaks a school interested only in protecting its A-level results.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sat 24-Nov-18 11:34:16

Well that's one way of seeing it Noble but maybe they are actually just trying to get the best results for their pupils so that they can get into the unis they want to. I know a lot of cross parents who's DCs struggled through Maths and Science A levels that they didn't need and missed their uni offers when they could have taken easier options.

I know Maths isn't difficult for you and you teach it but it is comparatively a difficult A level. The top grades are dominated by pupils taking FM, the wannabe engineers and Drs etc. i.e. the very brightest. If a uni like Exeter is just looking at grades regardless of the subject because they think that "pupils choose what subjects to sit because they are good at them and enjoy them", then a hard worked for C at A level maths is seen as inferior to an A at Photography or Dance. So surely, if a pupil has struggled with the algebraic content of GCSE maths then it is better for them to pursue a subject that they have a better chance of getting a decent grade in.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Nov-18 11:48:46

The idea that a kid who got a ‘low’ 9 should avoid A-level maths because an A in photography would make it easier to get into Exeter is plain bonkers.

A kid who gets a 9 in GCSE maths is one of the very brightest. If the school can’t get that kid to a top grade at A-level then that doesn’t bode well for their sixth form teaching skills.

Maths A-level is the most popular A-level. It’s a requirement for pretty much all the degrees which lead to the best paying graduate jobs. Research shows that it boosts your lifetime earning potential - the only A-level to do so.

Putting kids off it who would be perfectly capable of doing it actually angers me, especially if they are female. Girls are already put off maths for stupid reasons and schools shouldn’t be adding to that.

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 24-Nov-18 14:25:30

Hear hear, Noble. As a person who sifts job applications, I'm much more likely to interview someone with a C in A-level maths than an A in A-level photography. And I'm deeply disturbed by all the stories I have of schools who are telling students that getting high grades in minority subjects is better for them, when actually it's just better for the league tables.

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