The Vision: All young people study a broad and balanced curriculum up to the age of 18, including maths and science.
A bold new approach to science and mathematics curricula is needed, with all young people studying science and mathematics to age 18. New baccalaureate-style frameworks valuing vocational and academic learning as well as apprenticeships will support this approach.
All young people in the UK should have a broad and balanced education.
Inspirational mathematics and science lessons should be at the heart of the curriculum, and there should be an emphasis on practical work and problem solving.
Only 13% of young people in the UK study mathematics beyond 16, and it has been estimated that at least 1 in 4 economically active adults is functionally innumerate.
Too many young people leave compulsory education having not achieved a grade C or above in GCSE mathematics. Too few go on to study mathematics at A-level.
There is a growing consensus among employers and educators that the current A-level system should change. Instead students should study a baccalaureate similar to that found in many international education systems where academic and vocational learning are equally valued.
- Develop rigorous new post-16 courses and qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to engage students who are studying non-STEM subjects at school or who are training in the workplace, ensuring these meet the changing needs of employers
- Increase the amount of time and money invested in practical and problem solving work in science and mathematics education for 5–18 year olds, through access to adequately resourced laboratories and well-trained teachers
- Extend the age at which students leave formal education or training to 18 in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Key developments since 2014
- A Core Maths qualification at level 3 for those not studying AS or A-level Maths
- Following the Sainsbury review, new technical pathways, T-levels, are being introduced
- Following Sir Adrian Smith’s report the Government is investing in post-16 mathematics education
- Qualification reforms and funding changes have reduced the number and narrowed the breadth of A-levels typically taken
The Society's work
The Royal Society Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) provides phase-specific advice on maths education.
Research has been commissioned to look at the curriculum breadth in UK post-16 education.
Research has been commissioned to establish whether and how universities signal the importance of having quantitative skills.
The Royal Society has reviewed the extent to which data science skills (PDF) are nurtured across England’s National Curriculum.