Maths is hard. From the moment we set foot in secondary school, we are endlessly informed of how integral GCSE Maths will be in our lives. While most school leavers won’t be using algebra daily, it is important to have a maths qualification under your belt, as it benefits many employment paths.

Breaking the stigma

 In the UK, 35% of students fail to gain at least a C grade (Level 4) in GCSE Maths each year; this number is considerable since we spend more than a decade in education (which sometimes feels like longer). Passing Maths is not as easy for some as others; there are a variety of factors that contribute to the high failure rate across schools and colleges in the UK, such as Neurodiversity, economic status, and failure on the part of secondary schools.

This forgotten third of students are significantly more likely to be from disadvantaged areas, and poorer students are almost twice as likely to fail their GCSE Maths exam. These students are more likely to be held back on their employment journey due to consistently low GCSE grades throughout their school careers.

However, GCSE Maths is not the only maths qualification you can gain. Functional skills maths is a more accessible alternative to a GCSE.

What is it exactly?

Thankfully, we have progression when it comes to recognised qualifications. For many, functional skills maths is a more flexible alternative to a GCSE; it focuses on applying basic mathematical skills to the real world, rather than the more abstract Maths found in GCSE (Not so big a focus on that dreaded algebra).

 A functional skills qualification takes 16 weeks to complete; upon completion, you can progress to GCSE if you wish; however, many workplaces and further education institutions recognise Functional Skills level 2 as a GCSE equivalent and accept it.

A Level 2 Functional skills qualification is free to complete if you meet the right age requirements and have not previously achieved a Level 2 qualification in Maths. Some employers/educational institutions also can complete the qualification alongside a job or course to upskill, which is a win-win.

Alternative modes of education accessible to young people is so important. People, more often than not, take for granted the privilege of being able to pass GCSE Maths without issue. This functional skills qualification provides an accessible way for everyone to have the same opportunities for further education and employment.