Letter: How to demystify mathematics

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The Independent Online
Sir: I share Alison Wolf's concern for the quality of maths education in schools. But on one point I disagree. Ms Wolf believes that mathematics restricts choices more than arts subjects.

More than half of the students at my school took maths at A- level. Many did so in combination with arts subjects. These hybrid students are in occupations diverse enough to include acting, catering and telecommunications. Your own cookery writer, Sophie Grigson, is a maths graduate. Whose career is restricted by the study of maths?

My advice to people chosing what A-levels to take is: given that students are still restricted to three A-levels, they should not narrow their choices further. I urge more schools to allow students to mix arts and science subjects - encourage it, even. Maths can keep options open for an arts specialist, as it did for me, a linguist. If three science A-levels are too daunting, try one, and do well at it. Your CV will look more interesting than that of your straight arts or science contemporaries. And your options will be open.

Yours faithfully,



23 August