Sunak’s maths to 18 expert advisory group revealed

They include an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of a credit card giant

They include an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of a credit card giant

17 Apr 2023, 13:29

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A curriculum guru, the former Ofqual boss and the chief executive of a credit card giant will be tasked with advising the government on how to deliver its plan to extend maths education up to 18.

It comes as prime minister Rishi Sunak doubled down on his promise this morning, announcing the establishment of the new expert advisory group.

The panel, made up of eight experts including mathematicians, education leaders and business representatives (see full list below) – will take evidence from countries with high rates of post-16 numeracy and UK employers.

Among the panel are Ofqual’s former interim chief regulator Simon Lebus (pictured left) and Tim Oates (pictured right), group director of assessment research and development at Cambridge University Press and Assessment and one of the 2014 national curriculum architects.

While the majority of the group work within the sector, Lucy-Marie Hagues, chief executive of credit card company Capital One UK, will offer insight from employers.

The group, which also consists of a college leader, will advise the prime minister and education secretary Gillian Keegan on whether a new maths qualification will be required for 16 to 18-year-olds.

But the work they do between this month and July 2023 does not need to constitute a formal review and the group will not be asked to publish its work, government said.

Terms of reference published this morning show the group will provide guidance to the government on “what maths knowledge and skills are needed for jobs in the modern economy, and therefore what ‘best in class’ modern maths content should look like”.

Group will advise what maths content is essential for post-16

As well as what essential content is needed for 16 to 18-year-olds, the group will consider what math skills are needed in STEM and non-STEM reliant jobs.

They will also be asked to query what maths knowledge young people need by age 18 to manage their personal finances.

Other questions for the group to answer include whether the depth of content should vary across different post-16 pathways and how many hours of study will be required to cover essential topics.

Members will also consider if study needs to be continuous over the course of 16-19 education.

Written evidence and advice will be provided to the government by the end of July.

Who is on the expert panel?

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (pictured centre), chancellor, University of Leicester

Peter Cooper, executive principal and CEO, Heart of Mercia Multi-Academy Trust

Lucy-Marie Hagues, CEO, Capital One UK

Professor Jeremy Hodgen, professor of mathematics educations, University College London

Simon Lebus, non-executive chairman, Sparx

Tim Oates, group director of assessment research and development, Cambridge University Press and Assessment

Charlie Stripp, CEO, MEI and director, National Centre for Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM)

Fionnuala Swann, assistant principal (academic), Nelson and Colne College Group

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  1. If a new mathematical qualification will be utilised , will this involve an exam which requires students to use 21st Century technologies? I ask because if so, this would rightly embrace STEM subjects. If not then a potential new qualification would be relatively useless.

  2. “Group will advise what maths content is essential for post-16”
    Can we then have a decision on what maths content is essential for pre-16? We’ve already seen past consultations on this, with no real movement.

  3. Lee Reddington

    Would be nice to see representation from industries that are struggling to recruit and struggling to get people through apprenticeships due to the maths requirements.
    The maths content for pre-16 education needs a complete overhaul, it does not prepare children for the maths requirements of working life and turns them against maths by making them learn difficult and completely redundant skills. Pythagoras, formulas, quadratic equations and multiplying fractions what good do these serve and have you ever used them in your working life?
    In the 30 years since I left school I have yet to come across a situation where I knew two angles of a triangle so was able to work out the third or an occasion where that particularly skill was useful or practical. Pre-16 and functional skills up to level two and perhaps level three need a complete overhaul, not extending to make the pain last even longer.