The UK must end its “anti-maths mindset” to help grow the economy, Rishi Sunak has said.
The Prime Minister announced an expert-led review into how to carry out his plan to ensure all pupils in England study some form of maths up to the age of 18, without making maths A-Level compulsory.
In a speech in north London on Monday, he criticised a “cultural sense that it’s OK to be bad at maths” which is putting children “at a disadvantage” by failing to equip them with the analytical skills needed for the modern workplace.
The UK remains one of the only countries in the world that does not require children to study maths in some form up to the age of 18, making it one of the least numerate among the 38 OECD advanced economies.
Around a third of pupils fail to pass GCSE maths, and more than eight million adults have numeracy skills below those expected of a nine-year-old, according to Downing Street.
Mr Sunak is expected to tell an audience of students, teachers, education experts and business leaders: “We’ve got to change this anti-maths mindset. We’ve got to start prizing numeracy for what it is – a key skill every bit as essential as reading.
“I won’t sit back and allow this cultural sense that it’s OK to be bad at maths to put our children at a disadvantage.
“My campaign to transform our national approach to maths is not some nice-to-have. It’s about changing how we value maths in this country”.
But several people were quick to point out that, while most Brits do have a good grip of the subject, a couple of his former colleagues are less astute.
Wonder who they might be?
Related: Sunak under investigation by parliament’s sleaze watchdog