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City and Guilds calls for 'revolution' in maths education

04/05/2012 Joanna
Maths lessons that are more relevant to everyday life would be better at engaging secondary school pupils, according to new research.

A study conducted by City & Guilds found that the majority of 16 to 18-year-olds would prefer 'real world' mathematics education that had practical applications.

The findings have prompted the organisation to call for a revolution in the way that maths lessons are taught in a bid to attract more young people to the subject.

Three thousand young people aged between seven and 18 were surveyed by the vocational education provider.

Of those aged between 16 and 18 questioned, a total of 54 per cent responded unprompted that they would prefer it if maths was designed for more relevant, real-life situations.

For pupils of GCSE age this figure stood at 45 per cent.

City & Guilds spokesman Chris Jones told the BBC: "We are not saying maths should be dumbed down, but it needs to be more relevant to the real world."

Many school pupils told researchers that they struggled to see how what they learned in lessons had a practical use, a complaint that many people working in maths teaching jobs will have heard in the past.

While the study found that young people appreciated the value of numeracy skills, many 14 to 18-year-olds said that they found maths lessons too boring, difficult or pointless – a trend that was particularly noticeable in girls.

Indeed, 69 per cent of respondents believe that maths will help make them successful, with 85 per cent of those aged between seven and 11 supporting this view.

"We need to revolutionise the way we think about Maths both in schools and beyond," City & Guilds said in its report.

"Practical Maths would engage young people and give employers the skills they need to drive economic growth."

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801357354-ADNFCR
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