Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

ACME comment on House of Lords Report

24 July 2012

 Professor Stephen Sparks FRS, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) said:

ACME has been concerned for some time about the proportion of students who continue with their studies in mathematics after 16. This report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee highlights that an understanding of mathematics is important for those moving on to science and engineering degrees. However, being confident in mathematics is also important for many others entering higher education and employment. Whether, or when, mathematics should become compulsory depends on what courses exist, the availability of teachers and whether other subjects are also expected to be compulsory. Currently, the mathematics courses available will not meet the needs of all students, and new, high quality courses would need to be developed. ACME is currently exploring what these new courses could look like. There is also a shortage of mathematics teachers that would need to be tackled. For the moment, without significant levels of resource being invested, it is difficult to see how compulsory mathematics could be introduced effectively.

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