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7 February 2023 - Government proposals for compulsory maths to age 18 - Oral evidence

Committee Education Committee
Inquiry Government proposals for compulsory maths to age 18

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Start times: 9:30am (private) 10:00am (public)

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PM’s proposal for compulsory maths from ages 16-18 examined by Education Committee

The Education Committee questions the pros, cons and practicalities of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s proposals to move towards a system where all children study some form of maths to 18.

Meeting details

At 10:00am: Oral evidence
Work Government proposals for compulsory maths to age 18 (Non-inquiry session)
Chair of the Advisory Committee on Mathematical Education at Royal Society
Deputy General Secretary at National Education Union
School Workforce Lead at National Foundation for Education Research
Chief Executive at National Numeracy
Post-16 and Colleges Specialist at Association of School and College Leaders

This one-off session follows a speech by the PM on 4 January in which he said the education system should “reimagine” its approach to numeracy.  

He said: “I am now making numeracy a central objective of the education system. That doesn’t have to mean compulsory A level maths for everyone. But we will work with the sector to move towards all children studying some form of maths to 18.” 

The cross-party Committee will question witnesses from the National Education Union, the Association of School and College Leaders, and the National Foundation for Education Research, on challenges around training and hiring maths teachers.  

MPs also question experts from the Royal Society and education charity National Numeracy on the current quality of maths teaching, and what a system of studying maths to 18 should look like. 

The last major reforms came in 2015, with an upgrade to GCSE maths that was seen to have made the subject more demanding. The Government at the time issued guidance for schools to increase the time spent teaching maths.  

Meanwhile, a ‘core maths’ subject was also introduced for post-16s who wished to continue developing their skills without undertaking a full A-Level. The Committee questions whether the most suitable way of continuing maths teaching after secondary school could be through an expansion of the core maths qualification or with T-Levels. 

Educational policy in England already requires those who achieve lower than grade 4 in GCSE maths at age 16 to continue to study towards GCSE maths post-16. This is a condition of school and college funding for students aged 16-19. 


Room 15, Palace of Westminster

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