The Smith review of post-16 mathematics has now been published, along with a response letter from the Government.
Clearly the issue is being taken seriously, and steps will be taken to encourage more uptake and better provision. Universities will probably have an increased role in supporting post-16 maths through outreach and enrichment. Here are two extracts from the Government’s response letter (written by Nick Gibb).
First, I agree that good quality teaching is vital, and to boost the capacity of schools and colleges to deliver Core Maths and A level mathematics and further mathematics I am pleased to announce a new £16 million Level 3 Maths Support Programme. It will build on the momentum created by the Further Mathematics and Core Maths Support Programmes, and will work with schools and colleges to improve mathematics education by sharing best practice, and delivering knowledge-rich curriculum materials, as well as working to increase participation and attainment in 16-18 mathematics. The programme will work to deliver focused intervention targeted to those who need it most.
Fifthly, I also welcome your recommendations on encouraging universities to widen access by supporting 16-18 mathematics education. Universities are an important influence on students’ post-16 choices. In response to your recommendations, we are working with institutions such as the Royal Society and British Academy to encourage universities and employers to signal the value of level 3 mathematics qualifications for entry to undergraduate courses with a significant quantitative element and for a wide range of job roles.