According to UK government figures, it’s thought that around eight million adults in England have the numeracy skills of primary school aged children, and 60% of disadvantaged pupils nationwide do not have basic maths skills at 16.
But the Prime Minister is expected to set out a pledge to address this in his first speech of the year today and explain why he wants pupils to study some form of maths until 18.
Mr Sunak will apparently make his mission to “reimagine our approach to numeracy” clear in his speech, while enforcing his belief that “letting our children out into the world without those skills is letting our children down.”
He is expected to say in his speech today: “One of the biggest changes in mindset we need in education today is to reimagine our approach to numeracy. Right now, just half of all 16-year-olds study any maths at all. Yet in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before.”
A spokesperson for Number 10 said details of the Prime Minister’s “new mission” will be announced “in due course”, but that the government did not “envisage” making maths A-Level compulsory, and is instead exploring the right route for these plans.
These include the Core Maths qualifications, T-levels, and other “more innovative options”.
During the speech, Mr Sunak is expected to acknowledge that “reform on this scale won’t be easy”, and this will likely mean that the policy will not come into force until the next parliament.
Downing Street said pupils studying maths until 18 would put England on a par with most other OECD countries – including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, and the US – although, these initial plans haven’t been met well by opposition parties, with Labour saying the whole thing would be “an empty pledge” if they could not recruit more maths teachers.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson criticised the plan and Mr Sunak, saying: “He cannot deliver this reheated, empty pledge without more maths teachers.
“Yet the government has missed their target for new maths teachers year after year, with existing teachers leaving in their droves. Now, maths attainment gaps are widening yetRishi Sunak as chancellor said the country had ‘maxed out’ on COVID recovery support for our children.”
Fans of the space queued down the street for its final few days in Bethnal Green, before its eventual closure on Wednesday 1 February.
Their statement said: “Sad news. We’ve received notice to vacate our premises at Bethnal Green by the end of this week. As a property guardianship, we’ve always been aware that we may be asked to leave with very short notice. We’re disappointed that it has come so soon.
“@Enter_theVenue the creative hub with whom we share our space, have also been asked to leave. The Vagina Museum will continue to operate in the digital world as we search for a new home.”
The message continued: “We’re sad about this development, but incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ten months we’ve been at our Bethnal Green premises. We’ve welcomed more than 40,000 visitors through our doors, and received so much love and positive feedback.
“In our time at Bethnal Green, we’ve once again demonstrated just how much the world needs and wants a Vagina Museum.
“Times are, once again, uncertain for us, but we’ve been through this before and risen stronger than ever. With a community like you supporting us, we know we can get through this too.
“We’re actively searching for a new home, and if you know of any vacant spaces (or have one yourself!) please don’t hesitate to reach out. In our home in Bethnal Green, we and ENTER demonstrated that we can transform an empty, unused building into a thriving heart of a community.
“If you don’t have a building, you can still help! Please consider making a donation; a donation of any size makes a huge difference and will help us to weather this storm, just as we’ve weathered storms before.”
The Vagina Museum concluded its thread with: “We’ve made it through a pandemic and a period of temporary homelessness before. With you, together, we can make it through this too.”
Gary Neville addresses ‘clumsy like’ on Tweet about Mason Greenwood ￼
Gary Neville has said that his liking of a tweet about Mason Greenwood has been ‘misinterpreted’.
The former Manchester United legend and football pundit set off a Twitter storm last night after he ‘liked’ two tweets by Nazir Afzal, and briefly retweeted one.
The tweets in question said that Greenwood was an ‘innocent man’ and added that ‘you are innocent until PROVEN guilty’.
Mason Greenwood had all criminal charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had faced allegations of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same woman.
The CPS said that Greenwood case had been stopped because of ‘the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light’, adding that there was no longer a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’.
Several people noticed that Neville had liked a tweet about Greenwood’s ‘innocence’ and quickly challenged him on it.
One person shared a screenshot and wrote: “You have a massive platform and you’re liking bulls**t like this just because the monster plays for a team you support. you’re disgusting @GNev2.”
He posted: “I liked a tweet relating to the Mason Greenwood news this afternoon from Nazir Afzal. ( the former director of public prosecutions ).
“This like is being misinterpreted. It was a clumsy like as I obviously condemn any violence against women.”
Greenwood issued a short statement yesterday, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Featured image: Instagram, @garyneville2 / publicity picture