Research indicates that around a third of women struggle with maths. And yet this is a time when employers’ organisations say they require higher skill levels than ever before. So why has it happened? Are women’s brains less tuned to maths than men’s? Neuro-scientist, Professor Melissa Hines of the University of Cambridge looks at what the latest research indicates. In this special edition of the programme, we ask where the problems started for so many women and how they can now help their own children from struggling too. Even those parents who are confident mathematicians may find the syllabus is taught in a different way and covers topics which weren’t around when they were at school. Caz Graham visits a project in St Helens which teaches maths to children and their parents. Jo Boaler is the Marie Curie Professor of Maths Education at Sussex University and the author of ‘The Elephant in the Classroom - Helping Children Learn and Love Maths’; Jane Imrie is Deputy Director of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and President of the Mathematics Association; Carol Vorderman became famous for her mathematical abilities on the television programme, Countdown. She is about to launch a new online maths classroom called ‘Maths Factor’ and is now advising the Conservative Party on their maths education strategy. And Rekha Bhakoo, CBE is the head teacher of Newton Farm First and Middle school in Harrow. They discuss what is happening in the classroom now, and whether new initiatives are likely to help all pupils feel confident in maths. Finally, with many girls excelling in maths at school, Sheila asks the panel what can be done to encourage these high flyers continue with their maths into higher education and their careers. "The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths" by Jo Boaler is published by Souvenir Press ISBN 978-0-285-63847-1
Maths Education: Does it add up? - a presentation by Professor Jo Boaler and a panel of guests will be at the Royal Institution on Wednesday 17th February 2010 at 7.00 pm
Carol Vorderman’s website ‘The Maths Factor’ is launched today.