During a recent discussion on the Today programme, a contributor got the idea put forward by one of the main teaching unions slightly wrong. There should be no question of higher level maths being taken off the curriculum, just schools accepting that it is not appropriate for everyone. Having worked with adult basic skills students, I know that hundreds leave school every year without the numerical skills or confidence needed to avoid being duped or getting into debt as they struggle with hire purchase agreements or try to compare different financial services. When the only option for them at school is GCSE Mathematics, they are not well served.
What we need is to extend the GCSE Options in Year 10 so that, as well as choosing between Art, PE, History etc, students who are good at maths and may want to continue with their science or mathematical studies could also choose GCSE Maths. This would leave a core of subjects that everyone HAD to study to include Numeracy, as well as English, Science, a language and IT.