The news broke in yesterday’s News of the World and today we will see the formal announcement that Carol Vorderman of Countdown fame is to head a taskforce for the Conservative Party on the teaching of Maths.

She will join David Cameron and shadow children’s secretary, Michael Gove, at a London school this morning at CCHQ (because snow has shut the school) for the launch of the taskforce, which will be marked by a live webcast at 11.15am now at 1.30pm, which we will stream at the bottom of this post.

Mr Gove has obtained figures which show that the poorest children are
thirteen times more likely to fail Maths GCSE than they are to be
awarded top marks, with only 3,312 children eligible for free
school meals achieving an A or A* last year, compared to 44,368 who got below a C. He says:

“Millions of children have left
school under Labour without a C in GCSE in Maths, which means the best
jobs aren’t open to them. Now we can see that it is the poorest that
are worst affected.”

He also warned that schools are finding it
difficult to find enough properly qualified Maths teachers.

Ms Vorderman said of her new role:

"It’s a critically important subject for the future of this country. If Britain is to emerge stronger from the recession, we have little choice but to sort it out now… David Cameron has asked me to look into how we can raise standards by
making sure children are learning in the best way possible. What can we
learn from India and the far east and eastern Europe? How has the US
started to fight their maths problem?"

"In the last decade, 3.5 million children have left school without a basic qualification in maths, a shocking statistic… There are many centres of excellence and many fabulous teachers
but help is needed for the children being failed. Maths is my
passion, and there is no question that Britain has developed a fear of
the subject and it is time to break that cycle."

Jonathan Isaby   

Watch the webcast at 1.30pm here:

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