Rishi Sunak wants children to stay in math class until they are 18

The Prime Minister is expected to unveil his Maths to 18 plan tomorrow (Image: Getty Images)

PM says jobs now require ‘analytical skills’ which can be nurtured in math (Image: Getty Images)

Students are to be taught mathematics up to the age of 18, Rishi Sunak is expected to announce tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will use his first speech of 2023 to unveil a new plan to boost numeracy in England.

Currently, the UK is one of the few countries in the world where children are not required to learn any form of mathematics until the age of 18.

Researchers have even examined “math anxiety,” a problem common among British children.

Tomorrow afternoon Mr Sunak is expected to swear that with the “right plan” he sees “no reason” why “we can’t compete with the best education systems in the world”.

He’ll say, “This is personal to me. Every opportunity I had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive.

“And that’s the main reason why I went into politics: to provide every child with the highest possible standard of education.

“With the right plan – the right commitment to excellence – I see no reason why we can’t compete with the best education systems in the world.”

Mr Sunak is expected to commit to starting work on introducing mathematics in 18 in this Parliament and completing it in the next.

He will highlight the importance of numeracy, stressing that jobs in the future will require more “analytical skills”.

The Tory leader is expected to say: “Right now only half of all 16-19 year olds study math at all. But in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our kids’ jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before.

“And letting our kids out into the world without those skills is letting our kids down.”

Undated file photo of students taking an exam. The best teachers should be assigned to lower-ability students to improve GCSE grades, a report suggests. The Bristol University researchers used observational data from 251 math and English teachers with just over 7,000 11th grade students in England from 32 state schools over a two-year period. Issue date: Tuesday 24 May 2022.

The UK is one of the few countries in the world where math is not taught until the end of high school (Image: PA)

According to the PA, the government does not appear to intend to make the maths A-levels compulsory for all 16-year-olds – and more details will be finalized in due course.

Ministers are instead looking at existing pathways, such as the core math qualifications and T-levels, as well as more innovative options.

Mr Sunak’s announcement on Wednesday will precede Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer’s first speech of 2023, which is expected on Thursday.

A Labor source said: “In their desperation to ensure Sunak’s speech does not follow Keir’s speech, No 10 have revealed they have nothing to offer the country except… double math.

“As the health service collapses after 12 years of Tory rule, criminals terrorize the streets and working people worry about how their wages will last the month, the country has the right to ask: is this it?”

Referring to the Maths by 18 plan, Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson addressed the number of new math teachers in the country.

She claimed that existing staff are “leaving in droves.”

She added: “Now the gaps in math performance are widening, yet Rishi Sunak, as chancellor, has said the country has ‘exhausted’ support for our children’s recovery from Covid.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, leaves 10 Downing Street on February 13, 2020 in London, England. The Prime Minister is making adjustments to his cabinet after Brexit is complete. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer make important announcements in speeches this week (Image: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

“Labour will end the private school tax break and use the money to invest in 6,500 more teachers, including math teachers, to raise standards in this country.”

Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the announcement was an “admission of the Prime Minister’s failure on behalf of a Conservative government that has so badly neglected our children’s education”.

She added: “If Rishi Sunak is serious about reversing the conservatives’ terrible record in numeracy, he should start by reversing the planned cuts to early childhood education and come up with a real plan to recruit and close the teachers hold what we need.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/03/rishi-sunak-wants-kids-to-stay-in-maths-lessons-until-theyre-18-18035712/ Rishi Sunak wants children to stay in math class until they are 18

Justin Scacco

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