Prime minister Rishi Sunak will say in a speech today (January 4) that he wants all children in England to continue to learn maths in some form up to the age of 18. The speech will be the Prime Minister’s first of 2023 - he is also expected to address ongoing issues such as the NHS being under extreme pressure and the ongoing cost of living crisis.
In the speech, Mr Sunak will explain how sending children out into the world without improved numeracy skills will be an example of letting them down. He will say: "In a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before. And letting our children out into the world without those skills, is letting our children down.
"Right now, just half of all 16-year-olds study any maths at all. Yet in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before."
It is also expected that Mr Sunak will say the decision to focus on numeracy will be “personal”. This is because one of the main reasons he went into politics was to improve the standard of education for children.
Labour has accused this new plan from the prime minister as being a “reheated” version of an education policy he pledged during last year’s leadership campaign. Shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, has called on Mr Sunak to “show his working” for the plan.
She said: "He cannot deliver this reheated, empty pledge without more maths teachers, yet the government has missed their target for new maths teachers year after year, with existing teachers leaving in their droves. Now, maths attainment gaps are widening yet Rishi Sunak as chancellor said the country had ‘maxed out’ on COVID recovery support for our children."