An MP has called on mathematics education to be made compulsory until the age of 18 to prevent UK skills falling behind those in other countries.
In a report on mathematics education, Elizabeth Truss, the Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, says that the subject should be mandatory and taught independently of the rest of the exam system.
Her study comes at a time that the government is planning major reforms to the education system, including possibly raising the national school leaving age to 18.
Should the recommendations come to fruition it would mean a serious education recruitment drive, with shortages already existing in mathematics teaching jobs – something the report recognises.
It also highlights that maths is the lesson in which UK students score worst against their international counterparts.
Ms Truss called on the government to take "urgent action" to raise the quality of maths education in the UK, warning that the country is falling behind international rivals and the workforce is being damaged.
"The government needs to take urgent action to address the lack of mathematics attainment in schools," she said.
"Current failings are hampering social mobility and the UK's long-term competitiveness."
To overcome a lack of maths education and the fact that is only available as an A-level qualification, Ms Truss suggests that it should be made a compulsory subject alongside other kinds of post-16 qualifications – including vocational courses.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) head of education and skills James Fothergill backed calls for improving the standard of mathematics education.
"The CBI has called for all young people to be encouraged to continue their maths and numeracy education post-16, to support the UK's need for highly numerate technicians and employees," he told the BBC.
Her recommendations come as the government is holding a consultation that could see the biggest changes to the National Curriculum and examinations system in a generation.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels