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Studying maths to be compulsory until 18

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The government is planning to make maths compulsory for all students until the age of 18.

Chancellor George Osborne said he would commission a review into how to improve the study of maths from 16-18 during his Budget today.

Education was a key pillar of Osborne’s speech. He announced extra funding so that by 2020 every primary and secondary school in England will be, or be in the process of becoming, an academy.

He also said the government would invest £20m a year of new funding in a Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy to ensure action is taken to tackle the “unacceptable divides” between schools in parts of the North and the rest of the country.

Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International, said improving the study of maths could be a major step forward in the drive to improve financial education.

She said: “Financial literacy is one of the most pressing issues affecting school leavers in the UK today – this is a generation that will face many monetary challenges: student debt, exorbitant property prices, the cost of caring for an ageing population and a much longer retirement.

“Basic finance is not rocket science but it does require an understanding of concepts like interest rates and the importance of compound interest, arguably the most important mathematical concept for savers and investors.”

She said that many GCSE maths papers contain questions within a financial context, referencing financial terms such as VAT, APR, revenue and interest rates.

“The frightening thing is that many children may never have been taught about any of these concepts. Helping our children with a basic grasp of financial concepts will not only equip them with an essential life skill, after all dealing with money is part and parcel of being adult but it can also help them do better at maths,” she said.