A new plan to ensure that all pupils in England study some form of maths until the age of 18 will be set out by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
We were invited by TES magazine to comment on the proposal. David Miles, chair of the Teaching Committee and representative of the MA membership voice, had to say:
The MA is the oldest subject association in the world. It exists to support mathematics teachers from primary to university in their endeavour to promote excellence in teaching and learning.
We cautiously welcome the proposal to require students to study “some form of maths” to the age of 18 in England in order to bring us in line with other high-performing jurisdictions. The provision of financial incentives such as the Advanced Maths Premium and the High-Value Course Premium along with the introduction of a Level 3 mathematics performance table measure has not delivered a significant uptake in the study of post-16 mathematics and it is sensible to consider other approaches.
The current suite of qualifications, including GCSE maths, Core Maths, A-level maths and A-level further maths, may not be sufficient to meet the needs of all learners and it is likely that alternative courses will need to be developed. A major issue that will need to be addressed is the supply of suitably qualified mathematics teachers. Recruitment targets have been missed for a number of years and retention rates remain a real concern. It may be possible to upskill some teachers of other subjects but this will take time. It is essential existing teacher shortages are not exacerbated to the detriment of the mathematical education of younger students
Dr Nira Chamberlain, President-Elect for The Mathematical Association was invited by BBC News to answer questions on the proposal. He said that he recognises Rishi Sunak is making a positive step forward and equipping our country to prepare for the future. You can watch his full interview on BBC iPlayer from 21:40: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001grdg/bbc-news-bbc-news-at-9-04012023).
The purpose of the Teaching Committee, split into two subcommittees for Primary and 11-18, is to review matters concerning the teaching and learning of maths and to address matters of future importance, such as this new proposal. The Committee respond and represent the MA to outside bodies.
If you would like to have your views heard then we welcome you to join the Teaching Committee, TC meet three times per year currently virtually but with plans to make a meeting in person, if you are interested and want to know more, email us at email@example.com