A simple trip to the shop will show you the importance of maths - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Jack Gooch, Market Weighton.

I was in a store recently where the sales offered 10 per cent off everything and so took advantage and selected eight items.

At the till the fresh-faced young assistant took one item and with a calculator worked out how much to charge for that item. Then another. On the third item I suggested that it might be quicker to add them all up and take 10 per cent off the total. The panic in her eyes made me not pursue this strategy.

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I tell this story after reading Dr Alan Billings' article (The YP January 19) and thinking how wrong he is.

Students sitting their GCSE mock exams. PIC: Gareth Fuller/PA WireStudents sitting their GCSE mock exams. PIC: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Students sitting their GCSE mock exams. PIC: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Mathematics is crucial to our everyday lives, savings, mortgages, purchases, banking, measuring up, travelling, imperial/metric comparisons, even construction workers need to understand the 3,4,5 measure for their work.

The National Curriculum looks at a broad view of mathematics for GCSE but for post-16 and reluctant 'stayers-on' teachers should have the freedom to explore the real life application of these necessary fundamentals in our everyday lives.

Dr Billings' suggestion that for him music and history would be a better fit is frivolous for use with post-16 students. By all means offer these as an option to those with such leanings but if any subjects are to be compulsory for these students then there are no better options than mathematics and English; how to write a letter, basic business use of English, common errors in both speech and writing including slang.

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Brighter students will have already grasped the importance of both of these subjects and will have moved on from that but there is an urgent need for teachers to have a free hand away from the confines of the National Curriculum for the reluctant post-16 students i.e those who don't want to be there and just want to be happy 'mucking about' with what are really leisure time activities.