New numeracy exams for students will help to "bridge the maths gap" between Britain and other developed countries, the Education Secretary has said as he pointed to poor maths skills as a contributing factor to the financial crisis.
Michael Gove told the Telegraph he is close to announcing something "not quite as demanding as an A-level" aimed at students between 16 and 18 who are not studying maths or science A-levels.
The extra exam will help to "bridge the maths gap" to the leading countries, he said, with almost 40% of pupils failing to gain even the most basic GCSE qualification in the subject, the Telegraph reported.
He said: "The final piece of the jigsaw will come out shortly, for more academic students, to make sure there are courses and qualifications for them to carry on doing mathematics until the age of 18, even if they are doing humanities.
"We want to be able to support people to integrate into education post-16 a way of maintaining mathematical fluency even if, for example, they are planning to do modern languages at university.
"The economic crisis through which we are now living is a crisis of maths because people relied on dodgy equations to do the work for them."
He added that the Government is spending more money on mathematics than any other subject and has recruited 300 graduates on £11,000 bursaries to be maths specialists in primary schools, or maths teachers in secondary schools.
Potential teachers will also have to achieve the equivalent of B grade at GCSE maths.