The standard of numeracy and literacy with 16 – 19 year old students has dropped such that England now occupies the bottom position of the 23 countries included in the OECD analysis. This means around nine million adults have entered employment with an extremely low grasp of the essentials of maths and English.
The issue stems from primary school, where many schools for example attempt to teach maths with staff who are unqualified in the subject. Children in primary school then lack the grounding essential to thrive in secondary school. Parents, who also struggled at school are ill equipped to give their children the essential additional support at home, can compound this.
Crucially the issue extends to reach university level. Around seven per cent of graduates with good grades required in other subjects to gain entry have survived their degree with numeracy skills below level two. This will leave them virtually unemployable, as even the simplest numeric calculation will be a struggle and despite the nature of their degree maths will always be a fundamental need.
The greatest challenge is how to correct this dire situation. The downward trend has been witnessed over the past decade. Throwing more patchwork educational initiatives at schools has to end. We have reached rock bottom for a huge number of children and desperately need a complete overhaul rather than a quick fix fired from the hip. To achieve this will needs an in-depth review by the incumbent Secretary of State for Education to rebuild our educational programme from the foundations upwards. This could only be achieved if they are divorced from day to day politics. Locked away with skilled educationalists for as long as it takes they need to produce an entirely new revolutionary education programme based on the best in the world. Yet another short-term quick fix initiative has been proven by the OECD to be pointless.