Raising the bar: Developing able young mathematicians

12 December 2012

At present, England is significantly underachieving in terms of developing able mathematicians, and this situation is now critical. It is necessary to increase systematically the number of young mathematicians with a robust and deep grasp of the range of mathematical ways of thinking and working. Able mathematicians are defined in this paper as those students aged 5-16 who have the potential to successfully study mathematics at A level or equivalent. The following principles that are mentioned in this report should be adopted in order to meet this challenge: Potential heavy users of mathematics should experience a deep, rich, rigorous and challenging mathematics education, rather than being accelerated through the school curriculum; Accountability measures must be developed so as to fully align with these principles; Investment in a substantial fraction of 5-16 year olds with the potential to excel in mathematics, rather than focussing attention on the top 1% (or so), is needed to significantly increase national capacity in higher mathematics.