School mathematics qualifications and work 

Year: 2012

Author: Drake, Pat, Noyes, Andrew, Wake, Geoff

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This article explores the relationship between school mathematics qualifications and the transition into employment.  As part of a large-scale, three-year independent evaluation of pilot qualifications in 14-19 school mathematics, all 39 Sector Skills Councils and Employment Skills Boards in the UK were invited to provide evidence regarding their need for mathematical skills at work. Thirteen interviews were conducted with educational representatives of these bodies.  Whilst mathematics was confirmed as playing a part in the activities of the workforce in each sector, the employer groups' representatives varied in the extent to which school mathematics qualifications were seen to be relevant indicators of appropriate mathematical knowledge and understanding.  Each Sector Skills Council (in 2010 reduced in number to 23) was required to produce a 'Sector Skills Training Needs Assessment' by end of 2010, and so these were scrutinized for the appearance of the words 'mathematics', 'maths' and 'numeracy'.  Some surprising omissions and variations in these training needs assessments are discussed in the light of the current policy focus on school mathematics qualifications and their relevance to transitions into employment.  In this article we explore this boundary.