Schools

Sunak’s maths to 18 expert advisory group revealed

They include an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of a credit card giant

They include an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of a credit card giant

17 Apr 2023, 13:12

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Tim Oates, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Simon Lebus are among a panel of experts who will advise on the government's maths up to 18 plans

A curriculum guru, the former Ofqual boss and the CEO of a credit card giant will be tasked with advising the government on how to deliver its plan to extend maths education up to 18.

It comes as prime minister Rishi Sunak doubled down on his promise this morning, announcing the establishment of the new expert advisory group.

The panel, made up of eight experts including mathematicians, education leaders and business representatives (see full list below) – will take evidence from countries with high rates of post-16 numeracy and UK employers.

Among the panel are Ofqual’s former interim chief regulator Simon Lebus and Tim Oates, group director of assessment research and development at Cambridge University Press and Assessment and one of the 2014 national curriculum architects.

While the majority of the group work within the sector, Lucy-Marie Hagues, CEO of credit card company Capital One UK, will offer insight from employers.

The group will advise the prime minister and education secretary Gillian Keegan on whether a new maths qualification will be required for 16 to 18-year-olds.

But the work they do between this month and July 2023 does not need to constitute a formal review and the group will not be asked to publish its work, government said.

Terms of reference published this morning show the group will provide guidance to the government on “what maths knowledge and skills are needed for jobs in the modern economy, and therefore what ‘best in class’ modern maths content should look like”.

Group will advise what maths content is essential for post-16

As well as what essential content is needed for 16 to 18-year-olds, the group will consider what math skills are needed in STEM and non-STEM reliant jobs.

They will also be asked to query what maths knowledge young people need by age 18 to manage their personal finances.

Other questions for the group to answer include whether the depth of content should vary across different post-16 pathways and how many hours of study will be required to cover essential topics.

Members will also consider if study needs to be continuous over the course of 16-19 education.

Written evidence and advice will be provided to the government by the end of July.

Who is on the expert panel?

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, chancellor, University of Leicester

Peter Cooper, executive principal and CEO, Heart of Mercia Multi-Academy Trust

Lucy-Marie Hagues, CEO, Capital One UK

Professor Jeremy Hodgen, professor of mathematics educations, University College London

Simon Lebus, non-executive chairman, Sparx

Tim Oates, group director of assessment research and development, Cambridge University Press and Assessment

Charlie Stripp, CEO, MEI and director, National Centre for Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM)

Fionnuala Swann, assistant principal (academic), Nelson and Colne College Group

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7 Comments

  1. Kathy kirby

    Really no need for this. Just increase anxiety and more turned off children. Maths needs to be relevant not learning how 3x-y = a. Why bother with gcse if there’s yet another hoop to jump through

  2. TLawson

    There is a need to ensure that school leavers have the best possible start in life. This includes being able to start managing their own finances and to (as far as they are able) be sufficiently numerate to understand how to perform calculations necessary in everyday life and to have some understanding of the kind of data and graphs used the news media. Maths knowledge needs to be tailored to the subjects being studied. As well as general numeracy, some students need knowledge of statistics, others will eventually need some calculus and applied maths but they are likely to be studying maths at A Level. There needs to be a set of ‘maths’ modules which can be studied to complement A Levels or other qualifications. Teachers of economics or geography could surely cover some of these as well as specialised maths teachers.