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Let's talk about maths

Published: 9 Feb 2016 09:56

Making Maths Count call for evidence.

A group set up to challenge negative attitudes towards mathematics across Scotland has called on members of the public to make their voices heard.

The Making Maths Count expert group, established by Education Secretary Angela Constance to promote enthusiasm for maths, is now calling out for public views through an online questionnaire launched today.

The group, which brings together expertise from industry, academia and science, has been tasked with identifying which factors can create negative attitudes towards maths, before making its recommendations on how to improve the nation's enthusiasm for the subject and increase levels of participation.

Ms Constance said: "We need to promote greater enthusiasm for and confidence in maths and numeracy across society, but particularly among young people and their parents.

"Maths and numeracy will only become more important as sectors such as digital technologies continue to grow.

"I hope that people will get involved in this discussion so we can get new ideas on promoting maths and numeracy, and how we address some of the myths and assumptions that still exist. We cannot have outdated stereotypes or views limiting the potential of any young person in Scotland."

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education in Glasgow, and chair of the group, said: "I've strived throughout my working life to promote mathematics teaching and am proud to love maths. It would be great if everybody felt positive and confident about maths, but we know they don't.

"Negative perceptions and stereotypes about maths are not hard to find; saying you can't do maths is sometimes even seen as something to boast about. These attitudes are holding us back. In a world where the role and impact of technology and science is soaring, we must make sure everyone realises that being able to understand and work with numbers is vital.

"Sound maths skills lead to better decision-making, whether it's balancing your finances, planning a trip, or being able to engage with so many of the big debates in our world today, from climate change to the economy. And beyond this, as we'll be showing people over the coming months, maths skills are also a route into an array of exciting and varied careers."

The group's short questionnaire, available at www.gov.scot/makingmathscount, looks into people's feelings towards maths, along with which aspects of maths people are using and what would make them more enthusiastic about the subject. Individuals of all ages are being encouraged to contribute their thoughts, with a separate questionnaire for those aged under 16.

The feedback will form part of the evidence the Making Maths Count group will use as a basis for the recommendations it will make when it reports back to Government later this year.

Notes to editors

Making Maths Count is a Scottish Government initiative with two broad aims:

  • to encourage greater enthusiasm for maths amongst children and young people, their parents, carers and the wider public; and
  • to provide support for teachers and help raise attainment in mathematics National Qualifications.

Further information on the National Profile Raising Group can be found here:

http://gov.scot/makingmathscount