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Core Maths: Data Handling and Finance

November 25, 2018

A quick Core Maths update.

Data Handling

I’ve gone through all of the graphical aspects that my students need to cover including box plots, cumulative frequency, histograms and stem and leaf diagrams. If I’m honest it was a fairly dry approach making use of lots of GCSE examples and questions. It was difficult to manage having students that hadn’t covered the material due to doing foundation tier while others were already comfortable having covered them at higher GCSE. It’s certainly an aspect I’ll have to talk to other teachers about and get some better ideas/approaches for next time. This is definitely the topic I’ve found hardest so far as it’s felt like there’s been a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time and I opted for the ‘here’s how to do it, now here’s some questions’. I would like to teach this through some sort of project really but I was worried that there would be very little practise of the actual skills involved. Anyone, that’s one to plan better for revision and next year.


I’m quite excited about teaching the finance aspects as it’s definitely one of the main topics that students have taken the course for. It’s also a major selling point for parents when I was talking about the course at the sixth form open evening.

I tend to start my planning with a mind map and I like to use a piece of software called ‘pen and paper’:

I’m not really very far through the planning yet but some sources I’ve been pointed to are:

Young Money

Stella’s MEI conference notes

Barclay’s Life Skills (filter by ‘finance’)

Natwest’s MoneySense

It’s still very early days and there’s a lot to look through and filter out. I’ve decided to start with looking at payslips (it’s very hard to find convincing looking mock ones!) and then move into Tax and National Insurance using the preliminary material that seems consistently used in the AQA course.

My school has also been sent a set of these books:

I’ve had a look through and I’m sure there are some useful bits in it (the extensive glossary if nothing else!) but it does seem very text-heavy at first glance. No doubt once I’ve had more time to look through again, I’ll pull out the most useful parts.

Some concerns

I’ve been teaching since 2001 and in that time, there have been (many) things I’ve taught but not really understood. There have also been things I’ve taught but can’t actually really do very well (I’m looking at you year 13 pure maths). Usually, I’ve managed and have had a network of other, experienced (or simply better at maths) teachers to lean on, however finance is definitely an area where I feel a bit like I’m somewhat in the dark. I’m going to go out on speculative limb and suggest that might be the same for many core maths teachers. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know the difference between AER and APR (I do now and the secret is they’re basically the same but ones for saving, ones for borrowing) and I actually am not sure how to do some of the finance questions.

It is a little embarrassing (and I know how the psychology, chemistry and DT teachers that have been asking for maths help feel) but on the other hand, it’d be stupid to pretend I can do these things and hope for the best. So, here’s a question I’d like help with:

If I use a payday loan company and borrow £100 with an APR of 4032% for a period of 15 days, paying off the full amount (with interest) at that point, how much do I actually have to pay? [and how did you work it out?]

I have searched the interest for help and found nothing useful so any help you can give would be great! I’d be willing to bet that if I asked this question of many people working in banks, they might not be able to answer either (although that’s possibly me clutching at straws to make me feel better!)

  1. Tom M Holden permalink

    The way I would do it is 100*41.32^(15/365). But I’m guessing different payday loan companies would structure they’re repayments in different ways.

    • Tom M Holden permalink

      By the way, thanks for the blog and sharing your resources. I found them excellent with my groups.

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