A second chance to learn maths

A second chance to learn maths

About the author: Dr Sally Everitt

Dr Sally Everitt is an NEC tutor for A level and GCSE maths. After achieving a BSc from Leeds University she went on to do a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). Sally taught in schools for several years and became deputy head of the maths department. When she and her husband decided to relocate to Yorkshire she studied for a PhD. Sally taught undergraduates during and after this time, teaching foundation and undergraduate courses. She is also an A Level examiner. 

I love maths. I love the elegant way everything fits together. I love the clever tricks that turn a complicated problem into something that is recognisable and (relatively!) easy to solve. I love the way equations can model sometimes very complicated real life situations. My aim is to pass the passion I have for my subject on to others. I want to support students to achieve their potential through flexible and supportive tuition – appreciating that each learner has different commitments, motivations and ways of learning.

Not everyone feels the same way as me though. For many, the concept of mathematics can seem daunting. Negative memories of maths at school can create mental blocks and make a person believe they just can’t do maths. Lots of people feel this way but want to move into a career where maths at GCSE level is required. 

So why is maths so important at GCSE level?

Well, firstly you’ll need it if you decide to go on to higher education. If you want to change career and get into teaching, nursing or many other careers, maths will be on the list of essential qualifications that the admissions team will want to see. This is to gauge your suitability for higher study and in many cases, because maths will factor into the course in some way.

Secondly, you’ll see GCSE Maths on many job adverts as a requirement. This is one way employers assess whether you’re suitable for the position. In fact, having maths at GCSE level is at the centre of a recent change which has resulted in young people having to continue studying maths (and English) at GCSE level to the age of 18 if they don’t get a grade 4 – the equivalent to a grade C – the first time round. 

Maths is something we use every day – often without even realising it. Before I even finished my morning coffee today I had done a simple calculation to work out if I had time to hit the snooze button (sadly not!), worked out how much something would cost with the discount offered in a promotional email and helped my daughter with her chemistry homework involving balancing elements (maths in disguise!).

Maths is all around us and is nothing to fear!

As a maths teacher I’m often asked if it’s too late to get a GCSE. My answer is always the same: Never!

Working with the National Extension College as a tutor for A level maths and IGCSE Maths I have students of all ages. From young people that are under 18 to students in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s – in fact my oldest student is in his 80’s! Studying online is a really good option if you’re looking for a second chance to gain a qualification.

If you – like many people – are daunted by maths, please don’t despair. Many adults find the childhood maths they struggled so hard with makes more sense in their adult lives. As adults we solve millions of little problems each day and maths is often really just about developing logical thinking skills, solving problems and looking for patterns and relationships – something that often comes naturally. 

If you want to discover more about learning online with NEC, visit the website www.nec.ac.uk or get in touch with the course advice team on freephone 0800 389 2839. Don’t forget – union members get a 10% discount on all NEC courses!

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