Diploma threatened by maths opposition

23rd July 2004 at 01:00
Thousands of pupils may leave school with only a basic mathematics qualification, under proposals to overhaul England's secondary exams, subject experts fear.

Maths teachers say plans for a new diploma to replace A-levels and GCSEs could exacerbate the crisis which has faced maths in recent years.

The plans have also come under fire from English teachers unhappy at a requirement for all pupils to study "communication" rather than English literature or language.

With opposition from teachers of such important subjects, the diploma proposals of a Government task force led by Mike Tomlinson, the former chief inspector, could be in jeopardy.

Mr Tomlinson proposes that all teenagers should study a compulsory "core" of maths, communication and information and communications technology. He aimed to address employers' and universities' complaints that pupils currently leave school without mastering the basics.

The Tomlinson group expects most pupils also to take optional GCSE-type courses in English and maths at 16. Maths will continue to be a requirement at key stage 4.

At a Qualifications and Curriculum Authority conference last week, however, maths teachers given the chance to discuss the proposals were near unanimous in their opposition.

Doug French, of the Mathematical Association, said: "It's dangerous to separate the core from the rest of maths, because it could lead to more students dropping maths."

Mr Tomlinson said that without the proposed changes many pupils would continue to leave school without basic numeracy.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now