Scottish maths outpacing the English

England should look north of the border for answers to the problem of poor maths skills, says a recent study by the Royal Society of Arts. One in four adults in England cannot do basic calculations, says the study, a situation not nearly so dire in Scotland. A separate report concurs, that undertaken last August for the Conservative Party by television presenter Carol Vorderman. She observes that only 15% of students in England continue maths after GCSEs, and that Scotland does better, with a quarter of post-16 students studying maths. The report praises the way the subject is taught in Scotland, where students “are able to progress at their own speed” and can move between teaching streams more easily than in England. The Vorderman report also recommended that instead of one single maths GCSE, pupils should study for two separate qualifications, in lifestyle and academic mathematics. The English government is piloting the idea. In Scotland a similar system is already running. Read more about these recent reports here.

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