Business must do more than sums;Leading Article;Opinion

19th February 1999 at 00:00
Employers have exhorted governments for more than 20 years to broaden sixth-form studies and equip school-leavers with skills relevant to the world of work. Captains of industry have had an unprecedented influence, serving on curriculum bodies and acting as close advisers to ministers.

Isn't it therefore time for them to put their money where their mouths are? Instead of taking advantage of the changes, they plump for the same old specialist, preferably with A-level maths. The London School of Economics research (pages 1 and 31) speaks volumes for maths - the lifelong pay-off the subject brings offers a persuasive argument for teachers seeking to sell it to students.

Maybe A-level maths, even at the standard of a scraped pass, does provide important problem-solving skills as researchers suggest. But placing so much reliance on it when recruiting for jobs undermines efforts to broaden studies. Young pupils will be the first to realise that all the talk of breadth and key skills for work is no more than empty words.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today