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Separate numeracy from maths exam, say teachers

THE ICE this week applauded the call by teachers unions to separate applied mathematics from numeracy a year before students take their GCSEs.

Teachers only want students with good mathematics skills to take an applied maths GCSE.

They say other students should be able to concentrate on learning numeracy - addition, subtraction, basic multiplication and division - instead.

The ICE said separating maths disciplines at secondary school before the GCSE would allow limited teaching resources to be more appropriately targeted.

This would help improve results at GCSE and boost the number of students taking and passing maths A level.

National Association of Schoolmasters & Women Teachers (NASUWT) president Terry Bladen suggested replacing maths with numeracy lessons from 14 onwards at the union's annual conference last week.

He said those who do not enjoy maths should not have to take it as far as GCSE level.

Bladen's speech was timed to influence the government's review of maths teaching beyond age 14. The review is due to report this summer and comes after 29% of AS maths students failed their exam last summer.

As a result, the drop out rate for maths A level hit 70% in some schools.

The issue is a major concern for the ICE. Lower numbers of students with A level maths increases the pressure on universities to accept civils students without maths A level.

The two tier maths GCSE has already been mooted by the ICE.

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