Maths Memos

ACME's blueprint for mathematics education


Today the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) launches 'A blueprint for mathematics education'.

Our blueprint draws together principles on  mathematics education, developed by ACME since 2002. We believe that using these principles as a guide will help to improve mathematics education for all.

The blueprint sets out five principles, or themes, to be expanded on in future Maths Snapshots, setting out some of the most important issues in maths education.

  1. All young people value mathematics and develop confident, positive attitudes to learning and using it.
  2. They are mathematically fluent and can reason and solve problems within mathematics, in other contexts and in their daily lives.
  3. They are taught by well-qualified, effective and inspirational teachers of mathematics.
  4. They study appropriate and engaging mathematics up to the age of 18.
  5. Policies that make this happen are joined-up, long-term, evidence-informed, transparent and well-designed.

Too often mathematics is seen as a difficult and off-putting subject. ACME would like all young people to have a positive experience of learning mathematics. We would like them to become confident and fluent mathematicians, able to apply what they have learned to think mathematically when solving problems in their future studies, employment and daily lives. Their mathematics education should help them to understand the value of mathematics for their personal futures and for society as a whole.

In order to educate students that are confident and engaged in mathematics throughout their schooling, there needs to be a good supply of teachers of maths who are well-qualified and well-trained. Moreover, they should be involved in career-long, subject-specific professional development. We explore this in a section 'specialist teachers for all'.

ACME is keen to ensure that more students study more mathematics post-16. In the blueprint, ACME sets out the key principles for realising this goal. A suite of well-designed and well-understood post-16 qualifications should enable all students to study mathematics appropriate to their needs and interests.

The fifth principle of ACME's blueprint is a call for 'better mathematics education policy'. Without joined-up, evidence-informed, transparent and well-designed policy, the improvements in mathematics teaching that are needed will not be achieved. It is critical that sufficient time is given to the development of any new curriculum and assessment arrangements and ongoing formative evaluation of developments needs to be in place to steer improvements.

Keep a look out in the months ahead for our 'Maths Snapshots' dealing with all of these issues.

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