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Bursary plan to boost maths course numbers

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CASH INCENTIVES may have to be paid to students to encourage the take-up of A-level maths, a government commissioned independent review of post 14 maths education in the UK concluded this week.

Mathematics is failing to attract students, the report says, as it is considered too difficult compared to other A level options, not exciting, requires more study effort and delivers less value as a career enhancing qualification.

'Radical measures' will be needed, says the report, if numbers did not increase over the next few years. These, it says, 'might be to offer financial incentives directly to students? possibly through fee waivers or targeted bursaries.'

The report by Queen Mary University principal professor Adrian Smith, concludes that mathematics teaching in schools is no longer 'fit for purpose'.

The current curriculum, it adds, fails 'to satisfy the requirements and expectations of employers and higher education institutions'.

The report emphasises the need to structure maths courses at all levels to enable the top 10% to remain interested, stretched and motivated. Only then, it points out, will 'we nurture and encourage the best talent'.

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