In September all students in post-16 education who do not have a grade C or above in English and/or Maths will be expected to be working towards an A*-C grade. If a student does have a C or above, then schools and colleges will be expected to demonstrate how they are improving the literacy and numeracy of those students. As a result, BSix has started planning for this significant change.
Graham Griffiths is a Lecturer in Mathematics Education at the Institute of Education University of London. He spoke to all teaching staff at the College about how to embed numeracy in the curriculum. He began by explaining the challenges of the new policy. He then went on to point out that worries about literacy and numeracy go back decades. He showed staff a quotation about employers being concerned about the numerical skills of their staff. He asked them to guess the dates. It turned out to be an extract from Her Majesty's Inspectorate in 1876!
Such anxieties were expressed in the Cockcroft Report of 1977 and the Smith report of 2004. Adrian Smith, who at the time was Principal of Queen Mary University of London, also highlighted worries about some of the teaching and learning in Maths and the lack of awareness of the career opportunities created by Maths education among teachers and careers advisors.
What next/There will be a more 'rigorous' GCSE Maths and the introduction of a new applied core Maths qualification.
The meeting ended with a lively question and answer session. The lecture was part of BSix's 'university for teachers' programme of professional development.