Six new core mathematics qualifications have been launched to encourage more pupils to continue studying the subject beyond the age of 16.
The qualifications are to be included in school and college performance tables from 2017 and as part of the TechBacc (Technical Baccalaureate) measure from 2016.
Core maths provides an opportunity for youngsters who obtain at least a grade C at GCSE level to continue studying the subject, maintaining and developing their skills even if they do not wish to pursue a full A-level.
This will help to realise the government's ambition of ensuring the majority of young people carry on studying maths to age 18 by 2020.
Developed with the support of employers, universities and professional bodies, the qualifications will ensure pupils have the relevant knowledge and skills to progress to further study and the world of work.
They will involve the practical application of maths skills, enabling people to tackle problems they encounter in their everyday life. For example, youngsters will be required to use different data sources to determine changes to average house prices over the course of a year and calculate the value of a mortgage loan in any given future year.
In addition, they will develop a more advanced understanding of statistics, financial maths and modelling. Investments, analysing trends in population growth or calculating new ways to improve a process all feature in the course content.
There will also be an emphasis on using maths in business settings, with pupils asked to calculate costs, estimate demand and set a selling price for products in order to maximise profits.
School reform minister Nick Gibb said: "Only a fifth of pupils in England continue to study maths at any level after achieving a GCSE - the lowest of 24 developed countries.
"These new core maths qualifications will help address a 16 to 18 'maths gap', whereby students who achieve a good maths grade at GCSE currently drop the subject and start to lose their confidence and skills."
Posted by Alan Douglas