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24.07.12

Lords call for ‘greater rigour’ in maths education

Maths should be compulsory for all A-level students, a Lords report has suggested.

The House of Lords Science and Technology committee stated that improving numeracy is important to employers, and would also address the problem of students starting undergraduate degrees without the requisite maths skills.

Additionally, the committee has called for Government to ease strict immigration caps in order to attract the best students from outside the European Union.

Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who chaired the inquiry, said: “Many commentators would now say that our mathematics in school is really glorified numeracy. In order to move on to understand mathematical concepts, to use mathematics appropriately, we need to bring in far greater rigour and that needs to continue until students finish their education or training.

“When you've got the vice-chancellor ofCambridgesaying that we get nothing but A* students coming in and yet we have to do remedial mathematics for them to engage with engineering and physics, there is something seriously wrong with the system.

“We’re wanting to see, as an automatic part of your post-16 study, that you will have a maths component which is appropriate, in terms of level and content, to what you're studying.

“We cannot stress enough how important it is in key subjects like engineering, attracting overseas undergraduates and postgraduates into the UK.

“We have disagreed significantly with the Government’s current policy and we have recommended that the Government should make a distinction in the immigration statistics between higher education students and other immigrants and uses only the latter category to calculate net migration.”

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