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Education Eye: Together we bring maths to life for our UTC students

Bev Flanagan

Bev Flanagan

  • by Bev Flanagan, principal of Bucks University Technical College in Aylesbury
 

Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock MP, announced this month that up to £20 million will be made available to encourage the brightest and the best to teach maths in further education.

Not surprising when you consider: Only 62% of students across all schools got an A*-C in Maths and English in 2012/13.

Many children are unable to master the basic numeracy needed for adulthood, because of a failure to teach them practical maths skills.

The Government has made maths an essential part of traineeships, apprenticeships and vocational education- a good incentive for talented graduates to consider teaching in further education.

So why don’t the majority of young people enjoy maths?

Often they cannot see the point of it – ‘why do they need to learn Algebra?’

Yet employers regard maths and English as the most important qualifications because they relate to their business.

Often young people will react to practical maths and English, when related to a subject they enjoy - this has absolutely proved true for our first cohort of students in Bucks UTC.

Integrating core subjects into technical subjects brings them to life.

For example, measuring joints for a timber framed building is meaningful, applying maths to coding and programming is meaningful – it makes sense.

Students studying this way at Bucks UTC were surveyed at the end of their first term and all said that they enjoyed maths and can see why it’s so important.

In the words of IT student Charlie Steer: “Maths is really fun and I have grown to love it!”

 

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