Former Countdown presenter Carol Vorderman is to help David Cameron in a Tory crusade to tackle the UK’s fear of maths.
As part of Mr Cameron’s drive to improve numeracy in Britain, Carol will head up a maths task force that will examine teaching methods and how to address people’s fear of the subject.
She will also look at whether maths tests have got easier.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Vorderman said: “Maths is critically important to the future of this country but Britain is falling behind the best performing countries.
“In the last decade, 3.5 million children have left school without a basic qualification in maths, a shocking statistic.
“If they are to get the best jobs in the future and Britain is to emerge stronger from the recession we have little choice but to sort maths out now. There are many centres of excellence and many fabulous teachers but help is needed for the children being failed.
“Maths is my passion, and there is no question that Britain has developed a fear of the subject and it is time to break that cycle.”
Carol will visit schools across the country and hold discussions with experts and parents as part of her work.
Mr Cameron will highlight figures indicating that the poorest children are faring particularly badly at maths.
Of pupils who received free school meals, around 60 per cent – 44,368 – received a D or below at GCSE in the subject last year and just 3,312 achieved an A or A*.