George Osborne announced in The Budget that the Government is considering making studying maths at school compulsory until the age of 18. Paul Davies, Head of Policy, Institution of Engineering and Technology, comments:
“In principle we welcome this news as a good understanding of maths is central to a career in engineering. By studying maths until 18, it is likely we will see more young people achieving the qualifications to allow them to go on to study engineering at university - which is good news for the country’s skills shortage and the economy.
“But our latest skills survey shows that both school and university leavers don’t have the right technical and practical skills for industry, so it’s vital that the maths taught to 16-18 year olds has a clear practical application in the workplace. It’s no good just forcing kids to study more mathematical theory that they can’t put into practice.
“We also need to think about where we are going to find the teachers, given schools are struggling already to find enough maths teachers.”