I have heard that there is a controversy over the failure of many young people to obtain satisfactory grades in GCSE Maths and English.

This has caused quite a lot of anxiety.

  • Some schools and colleges are worried about their lack of success.
  • Many students are worried that failure in Maths or English will be an obstacle to their studying other subjects. (Since 2013, students are required to resit their exams in these two subjects before progressing.)
  • Many employers are worried about the lack of skilled and qualified workers.

There have been various comments on this.

  • Some say the Government has set the bar too high.
  • Others say teaching standards or methods should be reviewed.
  • Still others ask why this obsession with these two subjects.

As I have an Accountancy qualification and do a lot of writing, you could rightly guess that I usually did quite well in those two subjects I have even written a book about Statistics: go to https://www.createspace.com/4767398  and might be unsympathetic to those who are unsuccessful. After all, so

Wrong!

I know we are not all the same. There are many things I am not good at, and I am glad they were not essential. Never mind what: there is not enough time to list everything.

  • Many people have no desire to go into further education.
  • Some are creative rather than analytical.
  • Some are practical rather than academic.

Should everyone be forced into the same mould?

  • Unfortunately for some, maths is the basis for all scientific study: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, medicine, engineering. A lack of basic maths really does make it almost impossible to understand any of these.
  • Maths is also the basis for finance, economics, insurance, investment, and of course statistics. If you want to understand money, you need a certain amount of maths.
  • Even if you are practical, rather than academic, you will find maths comes into it if you want to understand how things work.

As for English, we all need to communicate.

  • It helps influence others.
  • It reduces misunderstandings.
  • It enables you to explain yourself.

I think there needs to be a different approach to teaching these two subjects that works for the less academic student. I do not say the less intelligent. Some people’s minds work differently from others. Teaching should not aim to help only one kind.

I care about this because we need to see every student achieve his or her potential in whatever field is right for them. That will benefit all of us.

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