Parents value maths for their children – but struggle themselves

maths, teacher

Two-thirds of parents say it is more important to study maths at school now than it was when they were a child.

But the poll of 1,000 parents by ComRes for Teach First and Barclays also found that two in five parents need to use their phone calculator to work out sums, and a third feel anxious about supporting their child with homework.

Maths topped the poll of popular subjects, cited by 17 per cent of parents as their child’s favourite class, with science and art equal in second place (11 per cent each).

Teach First has launched an 18-month partnership with Barclays to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teachers into schools that serve low-income communities. The initiative is due to provide an extra 533 STEM teachers around England and Wales.

There will also be a drive to recruit an extra 204 English teachers.

Brett Wigdortz, chief executive of Teach First, said that without inspiring maths and science teachers young people could miss out later on in life. “An adult with a maths A-Level is likely to earn £136,000 more over their lifetime than those without a post-16 qualification in maths,” he said.

“The problem is even worse for pupils in low income communities, where there is a pervasive trend in low uptake and poor attainment. One amazing teacher can inspire pupils to pursue and excel in STEM, and foster a love for a subject that lasts through university and into the workplace.”

The initiative comes after a poll by the Association of School and College Leaders found two-thirds of secondary headteachers have had difficulty recruiting enough maths teachers.

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