An extract from BBC News 8 August 2011 – An interview with Carol Vorderman.
“School pupils in England should study maths up to the age of 18, a report for the Conservative Party has said.
It says radical change is needed to give children the mathematical skills needed to succeed in a workplace where numeracy is increasingly important.
The report, by TV presenter Carol Vorderman, said the current system was failing young people.
Almost half of 16-year-olds fail to achieve grade C at GCSE, with just 15% studying maths beyond that level.
This compares to almost all other industrialised countries, the report says, where either all, or nearly all, students study maths to the age of 18.
Ms Vorderman led a “maths task force” to produce the report, which was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove and Prime Minister David Cameron when they were in opposition in 2009.
She said more than 300,000 16-year-olds each year completed their education without enough understanding of maths to function properly in their work or private lives.
She said 24% of economically active adults were “functionally innumerate”, and universities and employers complained that school-leavers did not have necessary maths skills.
Ms Vorderman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that pupils who did not achieve the expected standard – level 4 – in the national curriculum tests known as Sats at age 11 faced a “catastrophe”.
Some 90% of them go on to fail to get a C at GCSE, she said.
“If you’re on the scrap heap by 11, you will remain mathematically on the scrap heap,” she said.
She recommended that the maths Sats, or national curriculum test, be scrapped, as it led schools to narrow their teaching to focus on the tests.
The test brought “no benefit to the children taking it,” the report concluded.”
See the interview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14437665
Read the Report “A world-class mathematics education for all our young people”: http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2011/08/~/media/Files/Downloadable%20Files/Vorderman%20maths%20report.ashx