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Research studies When we started to consider how best we might respond to our terms of reference, we became aware that we needed more detailed information about the mathematical needs of employment and of adult life generally than we were likely either to receive in written evidence or to be able to obtain by our own efforts.

Yours sincerely WH COCKCROFT The Rt Hon Sir Keith Joseph Bt MP Secretary of State for Education and Science The Rt Hon Nicholas Edwards MP Secretary of State for Wales In its report published in July 1977, the Education, Arts and Home Office Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Expenditure Committee stated that 'it is clear from the points which were made over and over again by witnesses that there is a large number of questions about the mathematical attainments of children which need much more careful analysis than we have been able to give during our enquiry.

These concern the apparent lack of basic computation skills in many children, the increasing mathematical demands made on adults, the lack of qualified maths teachers, the multiplicity of syllabuses for old, new and mixed maths, the lack of communication between further and higher education, employers and schools about each group's needs and viewpoints, the inadequacy of information on job content or test results over a period of time, and the responsibility of teachers of mathematics and other subjects to equip children with the skills of numeracy'.

Submissions of evidence Throughout our work we have been greatly encouraged by the welcome which many people have given to the setting up of the Inquiry and by the helpful response which we have received to our requests for information and written evidence.

Its Working Groups have met on 143 days in all, and there have been less formal discussions on many occasions.

The early chapters of the report are concerned with these aspects.

They will be of interest to many both within and outside the education service.

Few subjects in the school curriculum are as important to the future of the nation as mathematics; and few have been the subject of more comment and criticism in recent years. It offers constructive and original proposals for change.