Maths Foundation and Higher GCSE

Maths GCSE is an essential qualification, vital for many career paths and further education choices. Maths is used in business, engineering, computing and the sciences. It plays a vital role in areas of endeavour as diverse as space travel, public health and predicting stock market prices.

This course is one of our new Gold Star GCSEs. Find out more about them here.



Course requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but you need to be able to read and write in English. This is an online course you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

It's really up to you but, as a guide, a GCSE course takes about 120-150 hours plus extra time for assignment work you submit to your tutor. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.


This course follows specification 1MA1 from the awarding organisation Edexcel. Full details of the specification can be obtained from Edexcel's website.


Section 1
  • Working with numbers
  • Directed numbers
  • Fractions

Section 2
  • Decimals
  • Percentages and ratios
  • Beginning algebra
  • Angles

Section 3
  • Patterns
  • Coordinates and straight lines
  • Shapes and symmetry
  • Factors, Multiples and Primes

Section 4
  • Probability
  • Quadratics
  • Presenting data
  • Using graphs

Section 5
  • Indices and surds
  • Using data
  • Length and area

Section 6
  • Constructions and diagrams
  • Estimations
  • Pythagoras’ theory

Section 7
  • More graphs
  • Shapes and solids
  • Trigonometry

Section 8
  • Enlargements
  • Compound measure
  • More trigonometry

Section 9
  • Transformations
  • Variation
  • More probability and statistics
  • Vectors – Higher level only

Section 10
  • Similarity
  • Everyday calculations
  • More algebra
  • Circle theorems (proof) – Higher level only

Exams and assessment

The Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE in Mathematics is a tiered qualification. You must choose which tier to enter for. There are two tiers:
  • Foundation tier – grades 1 to 5 available. Grade 5 is the highest award you can achieve at this tier.
  • Higher tier – grades 4 to 9 available. Grade 9 is the highest award you can achieve at this tier.

Three exams:
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 33.3% of marks (non-calculator)
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 33.3% of marks (calculator)
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 33.3% of marks (calculator)

Non-exam assessment (NEA):
  • None


Assignments do not contribute towards your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course.

This course has:
  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 10 assignments

Set texts and resources

There are no essential set texts. The course includes some recommended books that you may wish to refer to for additional reading.

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

GCSE Maths Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

Please fill out your details below, and you will receive an email containing a link to download the course sample.

What our students say...

"I have to say that [my NEC tutor] Graham is a supreme help. I've been in touch with LOTS of questions and he's been able to help walk me through problems and furthermore has responded really quickly whenever I've asked him for anything."

— NEC Maths student