The Student Room Group

Rishi Sunak wants all pupils to study maths to 18

Poll

Do you agree with making Maths compulsory until 18

https://news.sky.com/story/all-pupils-in-england-to-study-maths-until-18-under-rishi-sunaks-new-mission-12779266

Pupils will study maths until aged 18 in plans to be unveiled by Sunak possibly in a speech on weds although the government has also said they don’t envisage making a level maths compulsory

Labour have stated unless more teachers are recruited this is an empty promise

I dislike the idea to be honest

Scroll to see replies

Original post by Andrew97
https://news.sky.com/story/all-pupils-in-england-to-study-maths-until-18-under-rishi-sunaks-new-mission-12779266

Pupils will study maths until aged 18 in plans to be unveiled by Sunak possibly in a speech on weds although the government has also said they don’t envisage making a level maths compulsory

Labour have stated unless more teachers are recruited this is an empty promise

I dislike the idea to be honest


I can understand the motive and think that if students in the UK have a better understanding of mathematics, then they may have a better skill set for particular career paths, but teaching them maths until they’re 18 isn’t necessarily the way forward.

Whether it’s feasible, due to the number of teachers able to teach it at the required level is a perceptive point, so plans need to be devised to actually see what it encompasses and whether most sixth forms/colleges could actually facilitate it.

Other factors, such as the way maths is taught and that pre-16 maths qualifications are structured makes it harder for some to improve their mathematical skills. One change that should be made, in my opinion is the scrapping of tiers at GCSE, as they set up a huge knowledge disparity between the ‘higher’ and ‘foundation’ pupils, which could be a contributing factor to this country’s comparatively poorer performance in mathematics compared to a number of countries globally. They reckon about 8 million adults in England have a comparable level of mathematical skill to primary school pupils, so it’s not surprising that the government wants to see a change there.

So maybe making everyone study maths until they’re 18 could work, but I’m unconvinced by it and feel it would be better to look into revamping the course structures that are currently in use.
(edited 1 year ago)
seems a bit stupid as a lot of people including me struggle in maths and that just seems like a 1 way ticket to getting a bad grade like a C or even a D which would be detrimental to uni / apprenticeship applications .. subjects should always be optional, the point is to pick what you enjoy and are relatively good at, forcing people who don’t enjoy maths // aren’t v good at it seems ridiculous.
If you're going to make Maths mandatory until you're 18 then you may as well do the same thing for English Language. I'm not sure if I'm really a fan of the move unless GCSEs get scrapped. That being said I can't think of a single country outside of the UK where you can drop Maths, English and Science (as in be able to discontinue learning about all three) before the legal leaving age for school unless someone can name me a country lol.
Reality and fantasy are two different worlds as Hearn would say. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jcIbJ6bEzcQ

Original post by aliaa03
seems a bit stupid as a lot of people including me struggle in maths and that just seems like a 1 way ticket to getting a bad grade like a C or even a D which would be detrimental to uni / apprenticeship applications .. subjects should always be optional, the point is to pick what you enjoy and are relatively good at, forcing people who don’t enjoy maths // aren’t v good at it seems ridiculous.

Interesting viewpoint.

I would agree that all subjects should be optional, but only for post-16 education. English language and maths for pre-16 education should absolutely be mandatory to ensure that pupils are equipped with basic skills that would help them later down the line (i.e being able to manage finances better and being able to write formally, as applications to uni sort of depend on that).
Original post by Talkative Toad
That being said I can't think of a single country outside of the UK where you can drop Maths, English and Science (as in be able to discontinue learning about all three) before the legal leaving age for school unless someone can name me a country lol.


Very true. In Germany you must study maths until 18 along with a science and German as part of the Abitur.
I like it.

Ive always felt statistics & calculus should be prt of the general curriculum.

Realistically not everyone is going to be doing A-levels maths so they need a foundation maths level 3 qualification, but I think students would enter the world better off for it.
As much as I love maths this idea seems so silly to me, for many reasons:

1. How can maths be compulsory until 18 when school itself is only compulsory until 16?

2. Why would pupils even bother paying attention in these classes if a Maths A-Level isn’t compulsory and there’s no particular qualification associated with it?

3. If these are pupils who would have otherwise chosen not to study maths, surely they’re not even planning to go into careers that require maths skills? So why do they need it? Not to mention, they’re far less likely to have any interest in it.


A better solution would be to improve or reinvent the teaching of maths from a young age, so that by the time pupils are 16 more of them are already good enough at it and like it enough to select it of their own accord.
I think both Maths and English should be compulsory. Perhaps the A level system needs reforming, or less people should be going to university, but in pretty much all European countries science, maths and the native language are compulsory subjects for university admission exams. The UK has really gone down a one path fits all approach, I.e. everyone goes to university, but in countries like Germany a huge proportion of students go on to complete technical apprenticeships that aren’t so academically focussed and more vocational. Only around 40% of students actually go to university in Germany.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by aliaa03
seems a bit stupid as a lot of people including me struggle in maths and that just seems like a 1 way ticket to getting a bad grade like a C or even a D which would be detrimental to uni / apprenticeship applications .. subjects should always be optional, the point is to pick what you enjoy and are relatively good at, forcing people who don’t enjoy maths // aren’t v good at it seems ridiculous.

Get good
Original post by Dschingis_1
Very true. In Germany you must study maths until 18 along with a science and German as part of the Abitur.

Similar thing in France I think (as in you can't have the ability to drop all core subjects before the legal school leaving age like you can in the UK (unless you take an alternative route to A-levels/the baccalauréat). As in chances are you'll be doing Maths or English or Science in the baccalauréat (A-levels), it's not like in the UK where I can get away with doing say history, Geography and Economics for example as A-levels (i.e no core subjects despite still needing to be in some form of education)).
could do a cute little half gcse or something alongside a levels… maybe something like edexcel’s level 3 award in algebra 🤷
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 13
Given how some people struggle at GCSE Maths and can barely pass that I don't see how you can make these same people deal with Calculus in the space of 2 years. I also don't understand how A Level Maths skills are important in most careers outside the basics. Could someone explain? Is it about developing problem solving skills?

I do actually enjoy maths and am looking at a STEM career but other careers clearly wouldn't require it in GCSE capacity let alone A Level capacity. Also, this would surely hold people back from doing their own vocations which they aspire to be in even longer than necessary
(edited 1 year ago)
I suppose it's a good idea but I feel it undermines the idea of Level 3 qualifications being more independent/choice driven. I could see secondary education in England being changed to continue to 18 if things continue along these lines.

Original post by tazarooni89
1. How can maths be compulsory until 18 when school itself is only compulsory until 16?

I was wondering how they would implement this when post-16 education is completely non-standardised even in England where it's compulsory. Would a construction apprenticeship suddenly require a section on statistics?
Original post by TypicalNerd
Interesting viewpoint.

I would agree that all subjects should be optional, but only for post-16 education. English language and maths for pre-16 education should absolutely be mandatory to ensure that pupils are equipped with basic skills that would help them later down the line (i.e being able to manage finances better and being able to write formally, as applications to uni sort of depend on that).

sorry that’s what i meant, as in A levels should be optional for what subjects you pick but maths and english up to gcse should be compulsory :smile:
Original post by tazarooni89
As much as I love maths this idea seems so silly to me, for many reasons:

1. How can maths be compulsory until 18 when school itself is only compulsory until 16?

2. Why would pupils even bother paying attention in these classes if a Maths A-Level isn’t compulsory and there’s no particular qualification associated with it?

3. If these are pupils who would have otherwise chosen not to study maths, surely they’re not even planning to go into careers that require maths skills? So why do they need it? Not to mention, they’re far less likely to have any interest in it.


A better solution would be to improve or reinvent the teaching of maths from a young age, so that by the time pupils are 16 more of them are already good enough at it and like it enough to select it of their own accord.

I agree, the standard of mathematics taught to students at GCSE level would have to improve. Probably more class time too. In general I think the UK needs more pathways for post 16 students rather than just A levels, since getting so many people into university is pointless when so many study degrees that are not needed in the labour market.
Original post by Talkative Toad
Similar thing in France I think (as in you can't have the ability to drop all core subjects before the legal school leaving age like you can in the UK (unless you take an alternative route to A-levels/the baccalauréat). As in chances are you'll be doing Maths or English or Science in the baccalauréat (A-levels), it's not like in the UK where I can get away with doing say history, Geography and Economics for example as A-levels (i.e no core subjects despite still needing to be in some form of education)).


Yes in France it’s similar. I also think it gives people more choice when applying to university courses, instead of being restricted to what courses you can apply to based on your A level subjects.
Original post by Dschingis_1
Yes in France it’s similar. I also think it gives people more choice when applying to university courses, instead of being restricted to what courses you can apply to based on your A level subjects.


True.

I mean I'm still so glad that I was able to ditch English early though but yeah I'm against this move unless GCSEs get scrapped and A-levels get reformed.
Original post by Dschingis_1
I agree, the standard of mathematics taught to students at GCSE level would have to improve. Probably more class time too. In general I think the UK needs more pathways for post 16 students rather than just A levels, since getting so many people into university is pointless when so many study degrees that are not needed in the labour market.

There are though. The fact that too many people are going to university because of social expectation is a different discussion but there are plenty of vocational options available.

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