By Max Clarke

A report by TV personality and mathematician, Carol Vorderman, urging the government to better focus on numeracy and make maths compulsory for all pupils up to the age of 18, has been praised by prominent business organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI have long bemoaned the lack of skills amongst school and even university leavers, repeatedly deeming the growing skills shortage as the greatest barrier to full economic recovery.

Vorderman’s report, entitled A world-class mathematics education for all our young people, highlights the widespread failings of the UK’s mathematical education, noting that just 15% of post GCSE- year students study the crucial subject, compared to nearer 100% in Germany and other industrialised nations. If unaddressed, the UK will increasingly be economically outcompeted on the world stage.

Maths is a subject of critical importance, and this report rightly highlights that there needs to be more focus on teaching ‘useful maths’ that is relevant for future employment and day-to-day life,” said Susan Anderson, CBI Director for Education & Skills policy.

“Businesses are most concerned about basic levels of numeracy and it’s alarming that more than one in five 16-19 year olds are considered functionally innumerate,” continued Anderson.

“To help address this problem, all young people should continue to study some form of maths until the age of 18. Pupils with good maths ability should continue to study the full curriculum, but all pupils, regardless of ability, should go on to study a functional numeracy qualification.”

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