Nick Ferrari Tears Into Rishi Sunak's Maths Announcement And 'Dolt' Liz Truss

The LBC presenter attacked the prime minister's plan for all pupils to study maths until the age of 18.
Nick Ferrari / Rishi Sunak
Nick Ferrari / Rishi Sunak
LBC / Getty

Nick Ferrari has launched a blistering attack on Rishi Sunak’s big maths announcement.

The veteran radio presenter tore into the prime minister’s plan to ensure all pupils study maths until up to the age of 18.

Sunak is set to outline the proposal on Wednesday afternoon in his first speech of 2023.

He will say the mission is “personal” for him and argue that giving young people more training will leave them better placed for data-intensive jobs of the future.

However, Ferrari said for him it would have been an “utter waste of time” and questioned why the PM was focusing on the issue given the NHS crisis.

“I got my Christmas cards yesterday which was quite extraordinary,” Ferrari laughed on his LBC show.

“You can’t send Christmas cards, you can’t go to work, grandma is going to be dumped at the hospital on a trolley as the ambulance takes off and we’ve got the migrant crisis with a world record number.

“And Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, will emerge today to say that maths is at the heart of his vision for Britain.

“Well, it might help if those dolts Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng knew a bit more about maths towards the middle of September-October last year and landed us in the crisis.”

Ferrari referred to parts of the speech in which Sunak is expected to take personal responsibility for the Channel crossing crisis and the NHS, sarcastically commenting: “This should be a belter, this speech. I can’t wait for this. This is box office. But what of that idea?

“Should this be, with all the problems that we have? And maybe he needs to be lecturing a couple of his former close colleagues, Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss — their grip on maths didn’t seem that crash hot did it?”

The UK remains one of the only countries in the world that does not require children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18.

Sunak will say that with the “right plan”, he sees “no reason” why “we cannot rival the best education systems in the world”.

He is expected to say: “This is personal for me. Every opportunity I’ve had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive.”

The PM is expected to commit to starting the work of introducing maths to 18 in this parliament and finishing it in the next.

He will put emphasis on the importance of numeracy, stressing “our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills”.

The government does not apparently envisage making maths A-level compulsory for all 16-year-olds and further detail will be set out in due course.

Ministers are instead exploring existing routes, such as the core maths qualifications and T-Levels, as well as more innovative options.

Commenting on the speech trail, a Labour source said: “In their desperation to ensure Sunak’s speech doesn’t happen after Keir’s, No 10 have revealed they have nothing to offer the country except… double maths.

“As the health service falls to pieces after 12 years of Tory rule, criminals terrorise the streets, and working people worry how their wages will last the month, the country is entitled to ask: is this it?”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the PM needs to show the plan is “based on solid research and is not a pet project”.

He added: “We would also want to hear how such a policy would avoid exacerbating the already-chronic national shortage of maths teachers.”

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