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Volume 77: debated on Wednesday 24 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to publish Her Majesty's inspectorate's paper on the mathematics curriculum; and if he will make a statement.

"Mathematics from 5 to 16" is published today. In the three years since the publication of the Crockcroft report the Government have based their action to improve the quality of mathematics teaching in schools on the report's conclusions. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I welcome the publication of HM Inspectorate's paper, which reflects and develops the Cockcroft committee's recommendations. It is particularly appropriate that the paper should be published at a time when almost all LEAs are preparing for the appointment, under the education support grant scheme, of additional mathematics advisers and advisory teachers. Some 350 such staff are due to begin work in September 1985; their task will be to encourage changes in mathematics education in primary and secondary schools along the lines proposed by the Cockcroft committee.Following the pattern of other papers in the HMI series "Curriculum Matters", the paper sets out views, and seeks comment, on the aims and objectives of mathematics teaching and on the related professional issues of the principles of mathematics teaching and the assessment of pupils' progress in mathematics. We commend it for the consideration of all those concerned with the development of children's competence in mathematics. We believe that it will help to develop effective teaching approaches. We also regard it as an important contribution towards the development of agreement on the objectives of this key subject in the school curriculum.