Calls for the compulsory teaching of mathematics beyond 16

A group of academics has called for the compulsory teaching of mathematics until the age of 18 in order to drive up falling standards in the subject.

A report by the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (Acme) found that an increasing number of courses are dropping the minimum standard of mathematical knowledge required in order to study on them, because there is a lack of sufficiently qualified students.

Nearly two-thirds of students taking subjects that should ideally require knowledge of maths beyond GCSE standard are not educated to this level, the Mathematical Needs study claimed. The problem has been made worse by the fact that in recent years there have been an increasing number of university subjects becoming more mathematical.

Acme believes that extra maths tuition for children up to the age of 18 could help tackle the declining standards.

Chairwoman Professor Dame Julia Higgins said: "In the last 30 years, many university subjects have become more mathematical but the number of students with the appropriate level of mathematical skills has not risen far enough to match this.

"Acme concludes that all young people should study some form of mathematics to the age of 18 in order to better prepare them for higher education and the world of employment. In order to do this, additional courses need to be developed for study at the post-16 level."

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