Letters extra: Adolescence minus maths = happiness!

16th May 2003 at 01:00

Whilst reading Peter Wilby's article on maths, I was saddened by his lack of logic. I am not a maths teacher but maths is a discipline of exact thought and not subjective opinion. Mr Wilby argues that there is a case for history to be compulsory at GCSE and I am sure that a case could be made for making every subject compulsory at GCSE. However, 2+2 is always 4, whereas the opinions in history tend to change depending on the view taken.

Why is science compulsory? Consider how many people go into study science, it is probably fewer than those studying Maths and engineering. In fact, much of what people refer to as science when they visit museums is actually technology. If Mr Wilby asked himself how much science he has used since leaving school, as opposed to applied science or technology, I am certain that it would pale into insignificance besides the amount of maths that he has used.

I was recently asked by a year 8 pupil what they should study for GCSE. The pupil is capable of doing well in any subject he studies, and I advised him to study those subjects which he enjoyed and had a passion for. GCSE exams are a study in themselves and a means to an end. It is rare when being interviewed in later life for anyone to ask questions about which GCSE exams you took! We should be encouraging pupils to have a broad understanding of all facets of life and maths is a good area for developing logical thought in order to make sense of life and its problems.

So come on, Mr Wilby, think about the issues logically before jumping on the bandwagon!

Ned Price
Oxstalls Community School
Gloucester

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