Children decide by the age of nine whether or not they like maths, and teachers will find it difficult to persuade them to change their minds after this age. This is why large numbers of pupils leave primary school unable to complete simple maths problems, according to research for maths tutoring website Whizz.com.
The site revealed that more than 90 per cent of children between the ages of six and eight said they liked or loved maths. But this did not last: between the ages of nine and 12, fewer than 70 per cent liked or loved maths. And almost 15 per cent disliked it.
These attitudes were accompanied by a general indifference to their achievements in the subject. More than one in 10 pupils believed it did not matter whether or not they were any good at maths.
A spokeswoman for Whizz.com said: “The older the child, the less their feelings towards maths, and towards their own ability, are prone to change.”
Richard Marett, chief executive of Whizz.com, said: “Being poor at maths is seen as okay in the UK, among both kids and adults. It’s much cooler to excel in arts subjects than it is in maths. This attitude does nothing to raise attainment.”