Letters extra: Doing the maths

25th July 2003 at 01:00

Was I the only person whose heart skipped a beat when it was announced that maths will form part of the proposed baccalaureate? I suffered sudden dread at the thought of studying trigonometry or trying to solve simultaneous linear equations while desperately trying to see some point in it all.nbsp;

My phobia started in secondary school when I had to start working out the value of "x" and the sum of the square on the hypotenuse. I gradually formed the view that maths was a form of mental torture, irrelevant to anything I wanted to do. I passed my GCSE but I didn't learn how to use an exchange rate, or hownbsp;interest rates affected mortgage payments.

So I had to learn the value of maths the hard way, and realise that some of the skills I'd been too bored to concentrate on actually had relevance (percentages spring to mind) - though I have never needed to calculate the internal angle of a triangle ornbsp;the value of "x".

If maths is going to continue into education beyond 16, please make it match the life skills teenagers will need as adults.

N Walbank
Acting head, St Ignatius Catholic Primary School
St Michael's on Wye, Lancashire


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