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University of London Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Adrian Smith underlines value of post-16 maths

Sir Adrian rethinks teaching strategies to get more students studying mathematics by working with higher education institutions.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith
Professor Sir Adrian Smith

Sir Adrian reviewed as independent adviser to the Department for Education Britain’s post-16 mathematics education and calls for more action to support young people.

The government announced today a £16 million investment to increase the quality of teaching in post-16 maths as part of its efforts to see more students studying maths after GCSE.

Sir Adrian Smith’s review has found that while government’s reforms such as a new, more rigorous maths curriculum and the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) have helped to raise standards and seen numbers studying the subject rise, the proportion of pupils taking an A level or post 16 qualification remains low.

The report highlighted a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to drive up participation, including tackling the negative perceptions of maths. Sir Adrian has called on government, employers, universities, schools and colleges to take action so that more students choose to study the subject post-16. 

A number of the report’s recommendations are being taken on board by the government for immediate action: 1. working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and the Royal Society Advisory Committee on Maths Education to ensure the design of the new T levels is based on expert mathematical advice; 2. Working with the Royal Society and British Academy to encourage universities and employers to better promote the value of maths qualifications.

Prof Sir Adrian Smith was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of London in 2012. He was previously Director General of Knowledge and Innovation in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Principal of Queen Mary University of London. Professor Smith is a past President of the Royal Statistical Society and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001 in recognition of his contribution to statistics.