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Posted on 07 September 2012

Education

Campaign group has attacked plans for maths teaching

A campaign group promoting maths has attacked plans to overhaul maths teaching in primary schools in England as "undeliverable". In a letter to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, National Numeracy says the draft curriculum is "overloaded" and relies too much on rote learning.

The curriculum, due to come into force in 2014, expects children to know up to the 12-times table by the age of nine. A government spokesman responded: "It is high time rigour is restored." But National Numeracy says the plans are "seriously flawed" because they rely too much on rote learning. The group says that rather than raising standards the new curriculum could in practice prevent pupils from developing a strong underlying understanding of mathematics or from having the confidence to apply mathematical theory to everyday problems.

It also says that key maths concepts that primary pupils need to learn have been "atomised" with no links between different ideas. The letter urges the government to revise the plans significantly even if it means delaying the introduction of the new curriculum. It calls on the government to study methods used in countries with more successful maths teaching such as Singapore and New Zealand.

The draft plans were first published in June for informal consultation. The government intends to submit the full curriculum for formal consultation in the new year.

A Department for Education spokesman said the new curriculum would drive up standards for all children: "The plans for primary school maths will put our curriculum on a par with the best in the world”.