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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has to increase the number of students taking mathematics to A-level; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: This year there were 53,416 entries for A-level mathematics (an increase of 3,611 since 2006) and 7,241 entries for A-level further mathematics (an increase of 725). The Government are committed to increasing the number of young people entered for A-level mathematics to 56,000 by 2014. They have put in place a strong programme of work to help achieve this which includes:
Developing innovative key stage 3 lesson materials to engage young people with mathematics, along with appropriate teacher support. The materials will be available to schools in April 2008 for use in classrooms from September;
Slimming down the national curriculum statutory programmes of study by expressing content in more general terms without losing breadth, depth, and challenge. This provides greater flexibility for schools and enables them to focus on key concepts. The new mathematics curriculum at key stages 3 and 4 will be introduced for first teaching from September 2008;
Developing through the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority a second mathematics GCSE aimed at students who wish to gain a deeper appreciation of mathematics. It will be additional to the existing mathematics GCSE and will be introduced for first teaching from 2010;
Producing a range of case studies which evidence school level factors associated with high levels of progression to post-16 mathematics;
Commissioning a programme of support and guidance aimed at increasing the number of young people continuing their study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects post-16 by showing the wide range of careers available to those who study STEM subjects;
Commissioning a STEM communications campaign to inform pupils, parents and others of the wide ranging and existing opportunities that are open to students when they choose to study STEM subjects and qualifications up to and post-16;
Introducing new mathematics specifications for first teaching in September 2004. They make AS and A-level mathematics more flexible and manageable;
Funding a network of further mathematics centres to increase the number of young people taking further mathematics A-level;
Putting in place a number of measures to step up the recruitment, retention and retraining of mathematics teachers.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) if he will place in the Library sample course materials for the proposed new functional mathematics GCSE module involving note and coin recognition; 
Jim Knight: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is piloting new functional mathematics assessments at Entry Level to Level 2 for use both by young people and adults. These are being developed by awarding bodies to the functional skills standards, which have also been reflected in the new national Curriculum programmes of study at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. I shall place copies of the latest version of the functional mathematics standards in the House Library. The standards include financial literacy skills, which are vital to equipping people with the skills they need to operate in life and at work. The functional skills standards at Entry Level 1 include note and coin recognition. Entry Level 1 is of comparable standard to National Curriculum Level 1the study done during Key Stage 1and is being designed to be suitable for those needing to develop very basic mathematics skills.
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