Teachers responsible for maths in both primary and secondary schools need better qualifications and training, according to a report from the Advisory Council on Mathematics Education (ACME).
Global school rankings which were published in May this year rank UK students 20th in the world for maths and science. ACME reports that 94 per cent of initial teacher training in England was rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted last year, however it suggests that an improvement is needed for maths specifically to meet the rising standards worldwide.
The government has confirmed that it has now prioritised maths teacher recruitment across the nation. ACME suggests that all trainee teachers who teach maths should have higher qualifications than at present, both at primary and secondary level.
Currently trainee primary teachers must have at least C at GCSE maths, but most have not studied the subject since then. ACME wants all trainee primary teachers to have studied maths to age 18.
New core maths qualifications which encourage teenagers to use maths in real situations are being widely encouraged to improve standards.
ACME suggests that it will take up to ten years to implement necessary changes effectively. However the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) argues that this is too long to wait. General secretary Russell Hobby said: "The children in the system today won't see the benefits before they leave school. The effectiveness of recruitment needs to be addressed immediately. For the teachers there are in the system today, it's vital that they have access to proper professional development to increase their expertise."
This year the government has recruited more maths teachers than last, with the number and quality of teachers in England's schools "at a record high". Furthermore, additional salaried training places are now available to encourage more career changers into teaching.
Posted by Harriet McGowan.