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Carol Vorderman calls for more maths in schools

A report led by Carol Vorderman recommends that maths should be taught to the age of 18, and split into two courses. This would allow those with an aptitude for the subject to study it in-depth, while helping other students to develop a greater understanding of a smaller area of the curriculum.

Vorderman said: "In my view, it is pointless for most 14-year-olds starting their GCSE courses to be force-fed mathematical topics which they will never use, when what they desperately need is to become more comfortable with numbers including percentages and fractions used in the world of finance."

The report was commissioned in 2009 by the Conservative party. They found that almost 50% of students fail to get a C grade or above a GSCE level, and the likelihood of a student achieving good grades depends heavily on performance at SATs level. Another problem for achievement in maths is that most primary school teachers have only studied the subject to GSCE level themselves, so may not be adequately grounded in maths.

Studying up to the age of 18 could be incorporated into student’s daily routines as opposed to becoming a compulsory A-level, the report recommends. In this way, students would be able to practise their maths skills more regularly and in a range of practical situations.

Lead author the report, Roger Porkess, a former maths teacher and education specialist, said: "Future generations may well see this report as a turning point, the moment when it ceased to be acceptable for the education system to turn out large numbers of young people who are too frightened of maths to be able to use it at work and in everyday life."

Professor Dame Julia Higgins, chair of the independent Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, commented on the report: "Carol's work taps into one of the biggest concerns of not only the mathematics community but also of higher education and business, that too few people study mathematics up to the age of 18.”

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