Students to study maths until the age of 18


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The Independent Online

All pupils should have compulsory maths lessons up until the age of 18 - even if they have a top GCSE grade in the subject, says a report out today.

The report, from the education charity the Sutton Trust, says GCSE maths does not give pupils the skills they need - such as problem solving - in the modern world of work.

For instance, a mortgage broker may need to understand a graph on saving a customer could make - while - if a nurse failed to understand the difference between millilitres and milligrams - the result could be fatal, say the researchers from King’s College London who wrote the report.

“While GCSE maths may equip young people with a basic understanding of key concepts, it will not necessarily provide them with the capacity to apply those concepts in practical situations,” said Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said that - within a decade - he wants to see the vast majority of teenagers studying maths up until 18 and has announced plans for those who fail to get GCSE top grade passes to study the subject until 18.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We agree that maths is a vital subject ...  It is why we are working with some of the country’s top mathematicians to develop new post-16 maths courses for young people who may not want to study the A-level maths.”