TEENAGERS up to the age of 18 will be taught maths but numbers whizz Rachel Riley said children need to become excited about the subject from an early age.

George Osborne announced maths will be taught for two years longer than currently as part of yesterday’s budget.

Miss Riley, 30, a former Southend High School for Girls pupil, estimated poor numeracy costs the economy £20billion each year.

But she said: “A review of maths teaching is a great thing, = but it's a complex issue and often the damage is done in the very early years of education.

“Continuing the same method of teaching that hasn't worked up to the age of 16 isn't likely to make a difference to 18 or 19 but there are brilliant charities like National Numeracy and inspirational teachers like Sarah Imbush at Southend High School for Girls who are making a difference and know what they're talking about.

“I hope the government listens to the experts to go to the root of the problem rather than superficially implementing something that sounds good in a sound bite.”