Today the BBC reports two stories about mathematics
Chancellor reveals maths weakness. Gordon Brown, almost certain to be the next Prime Minister, said he wasn’t very good at maths. But he also added
“I did maths at school and for one year at university but I don’t think I was ever very good at it – and some people would say it shows,” Mr Brown laughed.
I wish he hadn’t laughed (was that due to guilt?) but in his defence he has probably studied mathematics to a higher level than most politicians. It should also be noted that he was educated in Scotland where the first year of university is the equivalent to the last year of school in England and Wales (and so is more like the US system). So he is likely to have studied mathematics to A level standard.
Pupils are being discouraged from taking A-level maths as schools in England chase higher places in the league tables, scientists have claimed.
The Royal Society of Chemistry said that as maths was a difficult subject, schools feared examination failures which would threaten their standings.
Of course the DES totally miss the point when they say
The Department for Education and Skills said more pupils were studying maths.
More than what? Such is the pressure of those league tables that I can totally believe this story. I wonder sometimes if we shouldn’t rename this country Wonderland and then find an Alice who can make sense of it all.