Maths AS and A Level reforms delayed for a year

Changes to the AS and A levels in mathematics and further mathematics are to be put back for a year.

In a letter to Ofqual’s chief regulator Glenys Stacey, school reform minister Nick Gibb has today confirmed the new specifications will be first taught in 2017, rather than 2016 as initially planned.

Ofqual and the A Level Content Advisory Board (ALCAB) had both advised the government to delay the changes to the AS and A Levels.

From next year, a tougher maths GCSE is being introduced.

By delaying, students who choose to study the new AS and A Levels will have studied the new GCSE, considered by Mr Gibb to be a better “building block” for the reformed qualification.

In the letter published this afternoon, Mr Gibb said: “I am content to accept your recommendation to defer first teaching of the new mathematics and further mathematics A/AS levels until September 2017.

“I have taken this decision to give mathematics students the best opportunity to benefit from the new qualifications at GCSE and A level, and in particular recognition of the importance of mathematics as a route to a wide range of valuable higher education courses.”

Glenys Stacey, said: “By delaying the introduction of new AS and A level mathematics and further mathematics qualifications for a year, students will have studied first the reformed GCSEs, which will better prepare them for the updated A level content.”

Professor Nigel Thrift, ALCAB chairman and vice chancellor of Warwick University, said: “I am very pleased that the government has accepted ALCAB’s advice to delay the introduction of the new A Level mathematics by one year.

“This decision will mean that the first students taking the new A Level will have progressed from the new GCSE. The qualifications are designed to align in that way. This is fair to students and schools, and should give the new A Level a good start.”

Professor Richard Craster, chairman of ALCAB’s mathematics panel and professor of applied mathematics at Imperial College London, added: “I welcome the decision to have the introduction of the new A Levels in mathematics and further mathematics in 2017. The new A Level has substantial changes in emphasis and content.

“At its heart are the aims of ensuring that students can embrace fluency, reasoning and mathematical problem solving.”

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