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Evaluation of the Further Mathematics Support Programme and related studies


Research team

Dr Gill Adams, Professor Mark Boylan, Dr Mike Coldwell, Dr Martin Culliney, Sean Demack, Ian Guest, Dr Rachel Handforth, Dr Emily Perry, Sarah Reaney, Anna Stevens, Bernadette Stiell

Project date


Investigating outcomes of the Further Mathematics Support Programme: how effective are certain activities in achieving the programme's goals and improving school mathematics teaching and take-up of Advanced level mathematics?

The Further Mathematics Support Programme (FMSP) was established in 2009 to address the need to increase the participation in Advanced level study of mathematics post-16, including Further Mathematics.

FMSP is run by Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI). Since 2014, they have commissioned teams of researchers from the SIoE to undertake a series of evaluations of FMSP activity and studies related to the programme aims.

Evaluation of phase 5 of FMSP (2014-2016) involved:

  • quantitative analysis of school and pupil participation and attainment in A and AS level Further Mathematics and Mathematics
  • analysis of School Census data, data from the National Pupil Database, and internal data held by the Further Mathematics Support Programme about participation in FMSP activities
  • qualitative analysis of data from telephone and face-to-face interviews with teachers and focus groups with A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics students, supported by a survey of Maths Hub leads.

Following completion of this evaluation, in 2016 MEI commissioned three follow-on studies or consultancy projects. An analysis of NPD data investigated patterns in A level and Further Mathematics subject choice in combination with other subjects and numbers of AS and A levels taken. A survey of teachers in centres offering A level and Further Mathematics examined FM security - that is, the extent to which schools' and colleges' programmes were resilient and sustainable. This study also provided data on potential effects of changes in advanced level curricula and funding arrangements. The third study identified key new areas of activity and data sources with FMSP in scope, developed key theories of change based on logic models, and reviewed existing relevant evidence drawn from FMSP data collection.

In 2017 Phase 6 of the evaluation was commissioned.

This focuses on FMSP tuition for the study of AS/A level Further Mathematics and on two CPD courses offered by FMSP. It examines the quality of provision, the impact of support on student outcomes and on teachers’ attitudes, skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence, and considers what is needed to achieve longer-term sustainability of Further Mathematics provision in schools and colleges supported by the FMSP.

This phase of the evaluation of the Further Mathematics Research Programme utilises a combination of teacher and pupil surveys, teacher interviews, and statistical analysis of secondary data to examine the impact of aspects of the work of the FMSP. It is a one-year evaluation, continuing from the Phase 5 evaluation also conducted by SIOE.

Read more about the work of MEI and the FMSP on their webpages.


Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI)

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