Every child to study maths until they're 18 under new plan by Rishi Sunak

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Every child to study maths until they
Every child to study maths until they're 18 under new plan by Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak will finally break his silence today - to deliver a speech about extra maths for children.

As the NHS is mired in what some experts say is its worst-ever crisis, strikes cripple the railways and families battle the cost-of-living crisis, the Prime Minister will explain why he wants all kids in England to “study some form of maths to 18”.

In a speech in London, the privately-educated, multi-millionaire, former investment banker will say that learning more maths will help youngsters leave school “better equipped for the jobs of the future”, according to No10.

It comes more than a week after the PM’s last public comments - apart from Twitter posts - and after mounting criticism of his silence over the festive period.

Outlining his plan for kids to have better maths knowledge, the former Winchester College head boy will say: “This is personal for me.

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Every child to study maths until they're 18 under new plan by Rishi SunakAmbulances outside Waterloo Ambulance Station in London (PA)

“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.”

Downing Street said about eight million adults in England “have the numeracy skills of primary schoolchildren”.

It added: “Currently only around half of 16-19-year-olds study any maths at all and the problem is particularly acute for disadvantaged pupils, 60% of whom do not have basic maths skills at age 16.

“Despite these poor standards, the UK remains one of the only countries in the world not to require children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18.”

Every child to study maths until they're 18 under new plan by Rishi SunakThere has been criticism of Sunak's silence over the festive period (PA)

Mr Sunak will add: “One of the biggest changes in mindset we need in education today is to reimagine our approach to numeracy.

“Right now, just half of all 16–19-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 Government is not expected to make maths A-Level compulsory for all 16-year-olds, but “is exploring existing routes, such as the core maths qualifications and T-Levels, as well as more innovative options”.

But Labour blasted it as an "empty pledge" unless teacher shortages can be resolved.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “The Prime Minister needs to show his working: he cannot deliver this reheated, empty pledge without more maths teachers, yet the government has missed their target for new maths teachers year after year, with existing teachers leaving in their droves.

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“Now, maths attainment gaps are widening yet Rishi Sunak as Chancellor said the country had ‘maxed out’ on Covid recovery support for our children.

“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."

A party source also quipped: “In their desperation to ensure Sunak’s speech doesn’t happen after Keir’s, No10 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?”

Ben Glaze

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