# Should Maths be a compulsory subject at GCSE?

Mathematics is an increasingly unpopular subject at school because of its lack of relevance to everyday life the sudden increase in difficulty at GCSE level and its association with being a 'nerd'. One proposed solution is to no longer make the subject compulsory at GCSE level and instead include mathematical skills in more popular subjects.

**Should Maths be a compulsory subject at GCSE?**

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## The underlying skills used in GCSE Mathematics are important.

'Mathematics is not a matter of remembering formulae to do long multiplication, solve quadratic equations and find areas of triangles. Those may be among its raw materials, but maths is about identifying patterns, recognising structures, investigating the logical consequences of hypotheses. These skills are necessary before anything else when making a decision, passing a judgement, using a computer or reading the news.'

## The alternative curriculum suggested is too confusing.

## But only if it's taught better

Almost every GCSE maths question can be answered by WolframAlpha. That is abhorrent. We should be asking our children to answer questions that even the most powerful calculating machine in the world can't answer - creative, pure mathematics, that requires mental leaps and imagination.

## The GCSE syllabus does not encourage young people to be interested in maths.

According to Professor Andrew Hodges in the Guardian article 'Who Needs Maths?' (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/13/schools.uk)

"We should be trying to find ways of equipping children with the basic maths they will need to function adequately in society. I'm sure there are wonderful examples of good teaching practice to be found in schools, but the curriculum is very prescriptive and most teachers don't have the time to be creative. We should be looking at ways of teaching maths skills through other media, such as electronic music and web design, that are more relevant to most students."

Many other subjects have the same reputation as mathematics. It is not a peculiarity of mathematics that young people are not enthusiastic about studying it. History is just long, boring lists of dates, physical education is running around a cold field in shorts,, general studies and life skills are wishy-washy subjects that anyone can pass and employers know aren't real subjects. The fact is, school and learning in general do not have a particularly good reputation. The very existence of the concept of a 'nerd' – the negative stereotype of an intellectually adept young person – demonstrates this. We cannot make learning optional. We need to adjust our underlying negative attitudes to education in general.

Professor Andrew Hodges does not advocate 'NOT' teaching math/s but rather using more innovative/entertaining ways/means to do so. Therefore keeping pupils/students interested enough to effectively grasp the very important subject.

Given that basic mathematics skills are a necessity in everyday life and in every subject there is on offer; its proper teaching should be made compulsory at the (I)G.C.S.E/G.C.E/I.C.E level.

## In general, making things optional instead of compulsory can increase their popularity.

## Mathematics is a niche subject

## Students should instead take humanitarian subjects.

As Dr Steve Bramall, Professor of the Philosophy of Education at London University, stated; we can ask a financial advisor for moneytary advice, but to ask someone to make our moral decisions for us is an abdication of our responsibility.

Making humanities compulsory would not guarantee that the humanities curriculum is put together competently and is useful for making day-to-day moral decisions. The Mathematics curriculum is badly put together, so why would the Humanities curriculum be any better?

## The skills are already taught by science.

The fact that so many subjects(mentioned in the no points) use skills learned/taught in mathematics only exemplifies the importance of it becoming a compulsory subject.

## Maths is too wide a discipline.

English language just like math is a broad subject. It's compulsory because just like math it forms the basis of all other subjects. Making the study of those other subjects than if they were equipped with language skills in the language of instruction.

Math/s is the universal language relevant in teaching/learning of all fields including art.

## Most things learnt in mathematics GCSE do not help the average person in day to day life.

## Mathematics is pointless for the un-mathematically minded, the extreme right-brained, and the creative etc.

Obviously maths is not completely pointless, and for those who are mathematically minded I think it is important that their skills and needs are fulfilled and they are given the opportunity to do maths, but as one of the people I have described myself, I find much of the curriculum far too left-brained, logic etc centred, and so I think there should be compulsory basic maths which everyone has to do and only teaches you what you REALLY need in real life, and an optional further maths for the 'geniuses!'. :)

**Should Maths be a compulsory subject at GCSE?**

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