Maths to 18: MPs want financial literacy alternative to GCSE resits

Education committee urges ministers to 'prioritise' financial education in post-16 maths

Education committee urges ministers to 'prioritise' financial education in post-16 maths

The government should create a financial literacy qualification as an alternative to GCSE maths resits as part of their plans for an Advanced British Standard, MPs have said.

The House of Commons education committee has today urged ministers to provide post-16 students with “comprehensive financial education” as a “priority” in proposals to continue maths education to the age of 18.

Financial education has formally been part of the national school curriculum since 2014, but it is not currently compulsory in post-16 education in England.

During a recent inquiry, MPs heard from broadcaster and Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis that there are people entering the workplace who “do not understand their paycheques or that their tax code number is their responsibility”.

The committee released a report today that said financial education is “crucial” for 16-to-18-year-olds, many of whom are transitioning into the workplace, paying taxes, considering applying for a student loan, and living away from home for the first time. 

Despite this, MPs found that around half of pupils in state-funded schools do not go on to participate in maths at post-16, while almost an additional third are forced to study maths after the age of 16 to meet the controversial condition of funding rule.

The report suggested that the process of resitting maths, through either the GCSE or functional skills alternative, often leads to “reduced confidence, with low expectations of success”. Experts told the committee that forced resits can present a “lasting sense of failure” and leave students feeling “disillusioned and disengaged” from maths.

November 2023 results showed 22.2 per cent of almost 61,000 students aged 17 to 19 who resat maths last year achieved a grade 4 or above in England, seen by the government as a standard pass.

This was a fall of 8 per cent on the last year, when 24.2 per cent achieved at least a standard pass, and down 16 per cent on pre-pandemic 2019, when the pass rate was 26.4 per cent.

The education committee urged the government to address this as part of its plans for the Advanced British Standard (ABS) – a proposed baccalaureate that would replace A-levels and T Levels over the next 10 years, which will see students study English and maths to 18 alongside “majors” and “minors” in other subjects.

Ministers should “consider offering a specific qualification in financial literacy which could fit into the ABS as a minor subject,” today’s report said.

This would “provide opportunities for progression for students who may not be able to take A-level maths but show an interest or aptitude in improving their financial knowledge”.

And critically, this could be a “useful alternative to the GCSE retake for those who do not achieve a grade 4 or above in mathematics”, according to the MPs.

Their report added: “We welcome the government’s proposals to make mathematics compulsory learning for all students up to the age of 18. Whichever form this takes, whether through the ABS or otherwise, the government must ensure that the mathematics programme includes financial literacy as a fundamental part of the curriculum.”

MPs also urged the government to “redouble its focus” on recruitment and retention of maths teachers, where demand would increase “substantially” under a maths to 18 policy.

The report said evidence shows that existing targets are not being met and quoted data that shows only 63 per cent of the required secondary school maths teachers were recruited in the academic year 2023/24.

It added that it was “clear” through the inquiry that the challenge of recruiting more maths teachers is a “particular challenge in the post-16 space”.

Last year’s inaugural release of the Department for Education’s annual statistics on the FE workforce revealed an average of 5.5 per cent of all teaching positions to be vacant across further education providers. Shortages are particularly felt in subjects like maths, physics, construction and engineering.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Being financially literate relies on a solid understanding of maths and we have reformed the curriculum and invested substantially over £100 million in the Maths Hubs programme. The Advanced British Standard will build on this and see all young people study maths and English to 18, giving them the essential skills they need to succeed.”

Latest education roles from

A Level Biology Teacher

A Level Biology Teacher

Barnsley College

Electrical Installation Trainer

Electrical Installation Trainer

Barnsley College

Sessional Science Lab Technician

Sessional Science Lab Technician

Merton College

Sessional Lecturer – Plumbing

Sessional Lecturer – Plumbing

South Thames College

Lecturer – Business (x 1 Banking Specialism & x 1 Accounting/Business Finance Specialism)

Lecturer – Business (x 1 Banking Specialism & x 1 Accounting/Business Finance Specialism)

Kingston College

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Pearson is planting the seed for sustainability talent with new HTQ

Sustainability is rapidly becoming a key organisational goal for many businesses looking to make a difference in society, the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

ABS, Colleges, Skills reform

‘Clunky’ Advanced British Standard risks ‘blunt choice’ for students, leaders warn

Ministers accused of 'putting the cart before the horse' with 16-19 reform plans

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *