RSS responds to consultation on Advanced British Standard

The RSS has submitted a response to the Department for Education (DfE) consultation regarding the Advanced British Standard (ABS), emphasising the crucial role of statistical education in preparing students for an increasingly data-driven world. 

The proposed ABS system is part of the Prime Minister’s plans to replace A- and T-levels with a broader and more flexible system in which all children study some form of maths until the age of 18. In the response, the Society supports broadening the curriculum and updating it to better reflect real-world challenges.  

We would like to see more young people equipped with the skills to understand the world around us, however, we are cognisant of the current challenges in the education system. For the government’s plans around ‘maths to 18’ to be successful, we recommend that the following is considered: 

  • Teaching capacity is already stretched, particularly in maths; teachers must be consulted and involved in any curriculum change 

  • The different mathematical disciplines should be labelled distinctly, allowing young people to explore which areas they enjoy and may want to pursue for further study 

  • Post-16 maths, specifically statistics and data, should be linked to the real world and to the array of employment opportunities that require data skills. 

Further, the Society thinks it necessary to first tackle some of the key issues for maths education pre-16: 

  • The current GCSE curriculum and assessment should be refreshed to reflect modern examples in order to narrow the disadvantage gap and stop students disengaging 

  • Statistics throughout the curriculum should be taught in a more joined-up manner, capitalising on relevant subject-specific contexts (eg in biology, geography, and business studies) 

  • Maths currently has a very negative reputation among school-aged children, and this is a barrier to enjoyment and attainment. 

Read the full response

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