Making maths compulsory until age 18 is stupid

Being bad at maths doesn’t make me useless

arts Birmingham Uni budget George Osborne government maths school science students tab birmingham tab brum the tab uni UoB

Last week, the government announced plans to make maths compulsory till students are 18, and you know what, I’ll agree: maths is important, and everyone should know the basics.

What I don’t agree with is students being forced to study it after GCSE just because the government thinks it’s important.

I have never liked maths. I have a vague memory of bursting into tears in a year five arithmetic lesson, and over time this became a general sense of ‘what the fuck is happening’ that prevailed every time I walked into a maths class.

Much more my cup of tea

Everyone who has ever had to take a subject that they struggle with knows this feeling, and it’s not a particularly nice one. In fact, it’s downright demoralising to hand in some homework you tried hard on only to get back a ‘see me’ written across it in red pen.

The fact is that different people have different skill sets – some people are good at maths, some are good at English, so why not just continue to allow A-level students choose subjects they actually enjoy and that isn’t going to make them dread going to school? Why make students hate education?

Surely making students take maths further isn’t particularly going to help their grades either – I know that if I had had to take maths, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into university. It seems unfair that some students will be unable to realise their potential because they’ve been forced to take a subject they struggled with further.

Not impressed

Plus, the continued efforts of the government to make arts subjects seem irrelevant and less important is getting a little wearing now.  If the government wants to interfere in education so much, why is no one making history, English or a language compulsory until students are 18?  Why are the arts less important than algebra?

Instead of trying to force young people to follow the same agenda, maybe the government should allow people to do what they do best, and thrive following pursuits they’re interested in.

To me, that seems like a far better prospect than disheartening thousands of young people just because they struggle with maths.