Apologies for portraying the UK’S (actually rather nice and competent) PM to a Carry On film star. But he can be a bit camp and inept when trying to be cool? And so it is with MATHS!
That’s right, folks. Rishi wants everyone to do maths. Forever. Even when you are dead. Or before you are born. And in the afterlife!
Joking apart. oooooo.
Now, he is right. Numeracy is vital and that goes way beyond a basic qualification at secondary level. However, forcing people to do maths when it is tough enough just to get them into school beyond a certain point, at all? Dick move. Geeky. Gawky. Awkward. Not enough to make Keir Starmer look cool (though Angela Rayner? I would do maths for you, anytime!).
But there is SO MUCH MORE TO DO!:
1: The continued maths would HAVE to be made, bespoke. As in:
2: Yes, give the kids more maths. But don’t force them to do irrelevant stuff. As in: if they are on a vocational track, make the maths lesson(s) fit the trade they are on. Hairdressing. Cross dressing. Drug Dealing. ACTING. Whatever.
3: Reboot the whole education system.
Scrap GCSE and A Level. Bring in something akin to the Irish Junior /Leaving Cert and even build in the ‘transition’ year between those two exam sets. Allow for some kids to be non academic, too? As in, they might be perfectly nice and hard working and ironically make more money, longer term than certain more scholarly counterparts. But stop forcing the notion that all students ought do the same tasks in classes that simply do not fit. The waste in teacher time, stress and money is inexcusably avoidable. Seriously.
This does not mean reverting to secondary modern v grammar school systems, but it does mean allowing for inclusion THROUGH rather than despite a differentiated ability and interest stream. Let every pupil try everything and of course ensure they confront weaker areas, thereby preventing adult inadequacy post school. But don’t force it.
4: UNIVERSITY changes. Go the American route. No more 3-4 year courses in obscure subjects, even at top tier establishments like Oxford, Cambridge and Bognor Regis Poly. No. Instead, have students pick a range of modules and related work experience before a final year in which they ‘major’ in one calling and THEN send them out into the ‘real’ world. Money will be both saved and made. Tuition fees could even reduce, ironically enough?
And when in doubt?
5: USE THE MOVIES. Seriously. Film = great way to get kids ‘into’ any subject. And that includes MATHS! Here are a few ideas as a starting point. You’re welcome, Prime Minister. Oooooo that’s a big idea! Etc.. 😉
- STAND AND DELIVER: An essential lesson in negative / positive numbers via the importance of respecting hard work and maths teaching, against the odds.
- GOLDFINGER: Watch as James Bond calculates the odds on the baddie’s impossible plan to rip off the gold reserve. Then he ‘gets’ that the plan is not to steal it but..(spoiler alert).
- TITANIC: Jack’s maths and physics are great. #LEEEOOOO. #SPECIALBOY. He knows the precise angle tilt at which the ship will fall, thereby ensuring the safest spot to wait?
- FAST AND FURIOUS 1-10: Even Dominic Toretto needs to calculate how much fuel to burn through. Right? And how to divide monies among his fammmillleee.
- ANY FILM FEATURING TONY STARK / IRON MAN: ‘if my math is accurate, and it always is’ (seriously THAT is how you make maths cool again!).
- THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR: Whether you are Pierce or McQueen’s take on this cool character? You need your maths to plan heists and run a business.
- MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE (various): Maths = Ethan Hunt’s secret power. He needs it to time escapes from vaults/planes/trains/religious cults/wives..
- A BEAUTIFUL MIND: Game theory! Maths montage! Gladiator doing actual complex calculation stuff.
And so on. Many more examples. Heck, I might open a business specialising in applying movie maths to the classroom. I could make a fortune. Must calculate that. Rishi, can you help me please? Ooooo that’s a big calculator. …