The Prime Minister says jobs now demand ‘analytical skills’ that can be fostered in maths (Picture: Getty Images)
Pupils should be taught maths until the age of 18, Rishi Sunak is expected to announce tomorrow.
The Prime Minister will use his first speech of 2023 to unveil a new plan to boost numeracy skills in England.
Currently, the UK remains one of the only countries in the world that does not require children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18.
Researchers have even explored ‘maths anxiety’, an issue prevalent among British children.
Tomorrow afternoon, Mr Sunak is expected to vow that with the ‘right plan’, he sees ‘no reason’ why ‘we cannot rival the best education systems in the world’.
He will say: ‘This is personal for me. Every opportunity I’ve had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive.
‘And it’s the single most important reason why I came into politics: to give every child the highest possible standard of education.
‘With the right plan – the right commitment to excellence – I see no reason why we cannot rival the best education systems in the world’.
Mr Sunak is expected to commit to starting the work of introducing maths to 18 in this Parliament and finishing it in the next.
He will put emphasis on the importance of numeracy, stressing that jobs will require more ‘analytical skills’ in the future.
The Tory leader is expected to say: ‘Right now, just half of all 16 to 19-year-olds study any maths at all. Yet in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before.
‘And letting our children out into the world without those skills, is letting our children down’.
The UK is one of the few countries in the world where maths is not taught until the end of high school (Picture: PA)
According to PA, the Government does not apparently envisage making maths A-level compulsory for all 16-year-olds – and further detail will be set out in due course.
Ministers are instead exploring existing routes, such as the Core Maths qualifications and T-Levels, as well as more innovative options.
Mr Sunak’s announcement on Wednesday will come ahead of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s first speech of 2023, expected on Thursday.
A Labour source said: ‘In their desperation to ensure Sunak’s speech doesn’t happen after Keir’s, No 10 have revealed they have nothing to offer the country except… double maths.
‘As the health service falls to pieces after 12 years of Tory rule, criminals terrorise the streets, and working people worry how their wages will last the month, the country is entitled to ask: is this it?’
On the ‘maths to 18’ plan, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson touched upon the number of new maths teachers in the country.
She claimed existing staff were ‘leaving in their droves’.
She added: ‘Now, maths attainment gaps are widening yet Rishi Sunak as chancellor said the country had “maxed out” on Covid recovery support for our children.
Both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are making major announcements in speeches this week (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
‘Labour will end tax breaks for private schools and use the money to invest in 6,500 more teachers, including maths teachers, to drive up standards in this country.’
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson said the announcement was an ‘admission of failure from the Prime Minister on behalf of a Conservative government that has neglected our children’s education so badly’.
She added: ‘If Rishi Sunak is serious about reversing the Conservatives’ awful record on numeracy, he should start by cancelling the planned cuts to early years education and come forward with a real plan to recruit and retain the teachers we need.’
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