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Why you need National 5 Maths

Updated: May 8, 2021

Maths might not be everyone’s favourite subject, but it’s a core skill that we all need.  In a world where STEM is increasingly vital to all our futures, maths sits at the core of almost everything we do.  Whether it’s the devices we use, the way we travel or the products we use, STEM sits at the heart of our lives and central to STEM is maths.

Maths engages learners of all ages, interests and abilities.  Learning maths develops logical reasoning, analysis, problem-solving skills, creativity, and the ability to think in abstract ways.  It uses a universal language of numbers and symbols, which allows us to communicate ideas in a concise, unambiguous and rigorous way.

It is becoming increasingly important to gain a maths qualification.  Those without a National 5 Maths qualification in Scotland find themselves with a limited scope for career change and progression.

Here are some of the reasons why everyone needs a National 5 Maths qualification.

A gateway to further and higher education

Some universities and colleges will not accept anyone without a National 5 Maths qualification.  Other institutes may be less lenient but National 5 Maths is one of the most popular entry requirements – even for courses you might not expect!  Typically, a Maths qualification is vital for courses such as primary or secondary teaching, sciences, engineering, and of course, numeracy-based courses like accountancy.  National 5 Maths is also required for many services, care courses and jobs.  The RAF, fire and police service along with nursing and midwifery courses will look for N5 Maths on your CV.  Perhaps surprisingly, many social science and arts-based courses require it too.  Maths may not be a core element to every course or career but it is a brilliant indicator of your problem solving skills, logic and willingness to complete challenges.  Many employers see the N5 Maths qualification as a useful guide to the type of person you are.  Do you give up because things are too hard or are you resilient?  Do you go the distance, work hard and study?

Many college courses are happy to accept candidates with a National 5 Maths qualification.  University courses, on the other hand, usually ask or Higher Maths, and in order to achieve this, individuals should pass National 5 first.

Anyone who is looking to progress onto higher education – college or university – should carefully check the entry requirements found in the prospectus.  This information can usually be found on their website.


Apprenticeships begin at foundation level.  This level is designed for senior phase students.  Entry to each type of foundation apprenticeship differs, but generally individuals should be working around the level of National 5, Maths being one of these.

Modern apprenticeships on the other hand, require people to already have some National 5 qualifications.  Employees may still ask for two or three qualifications, and again, these would likely be qualifications for core subjects such as Maths and English.

Required for certain jobs

There are certain jobs that simply won’t consider candidates who do not have a National 5 maths qualification or equivalent. Teaching, the police force, accountancy and engineering are some typical career paths that would require National 5 Maths.  Employers may prefer candidates with maths qualifications because such skills are associated with wider cognitive capabilities.  A good maths qualification can mirror a candidate’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Entry into Teaching PGDE

If you aspire to become a primary or secondary school teacher a common pathway is to complete the one-year PGDE – postgraduate diploma in education.  A baseline for entry to this – irrespective of the subject you wish to teach once qualified – is N5 Maths.  This baseline, along with Higher English is essential as Scottish teachers, no matter the level of young people they work with, are expected to have a level of numeracy and literacy that meets very high standards.  The majority of adults taking their N5 Maths Qualification at Saturday School is those who wish to become a teacher in Scotland and are seeking entry to teacher training courses.

Improves your everyday life

We use Maths and Numeracy skills almost every day in life, most of the time unintentionally.  From counting money and measuring ingredients in the kitchen, to refuelling cars and simply telling the time.  National 5 Maths helps improve our everyday skills like logical, critical thinking and problem solving.  Maths is not always about complicated calculations.

It’s never too late!

It’s never too late to attain your National 5 Maths qualification.  With so few college spaces available in Scotland, Saturday School is the solution!  Our National 5 Maths adult classes run on Saturday mornings from August to May every year.  We cover all of your course content will friendly and fully qualified teachers.  We also arrange your SQA registration and your final exam arrangements.  We provide your textbooks, stationery, even drinks and snacks on class day!  Our courses are ITA enabled too so you may receive funding for the course fee from Skills Development Scotland.

For further information on SQA National Qualifications at Saturday School please get in contact with us.

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