The British Academy, Academy of Social Sciences, Royal Statistical Society, Nuffield Foundation and Nesta have urged AQA to reconsider its decision to abandon AS and A-Level Statistics in a statement issued on 26 October 2016 (PDF).
The statement calls the AQA decision 'regrettable', noting that both government and business agree that in tomorrow's digital economy, data skills will be crucial.
'What is especially unfortunate about this decision is that the new, thoroughly revised A-Level was focused on precisely the kind of data skills that pupils and students need in a data-rich world,' the statement continues. 'Instead of axing it AQA ought to be ensuring that as many pupils as possible can take it.'
Their statement highlights the importance of statistical skills to the UK economy in an increasingly data driven-age, citing figures from the Centre for Business and Economic Research which estimate that 58,000 jobs per year are likely to be created in the ‘big data’ marketplace between 2012 and 2017.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, who chairs the High Level Strategy Group on Quantitative Skills, said: 'As the British Academy highlighted in its report Count Us In, unless we dramatically improve numeracy skills, the UK risks falling behind in the global race to tap the potential of "big data".'
The organisations also argue that building statistical skills benefits society not just by enhancing research in universities or creating jobs, but also by enabling citizens to fully participate in the UK’s democratic process.
The organisations behind the statement would welcome an opportunity to discuss with AQA, other awarding organisations, and the Department for Education how to retain Statistics as an A-level subject.
Read the full statement here.