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Schools: Teaching Mathematics

Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why one in five primary school children do not have a secure grasp of essential mathematical skills. [HL3516]

The premise of this Question is wrong. In 2008, 79 per cent of children reached or exceeded level 4+, the expected level in key stage 2 (20 per cent more than in 1998 and 2 per cent more than in 2007). An additional 15 per cent of pupils achieved level 3 in 2008 and it would be wrong to suggest that a child achieving this level does not have a secure grasp of basic mathematical skills. At level 3, a pupil has a range of mathematical skills; for example the ability to solve whole number problems involving multiplication and division, use simple fractions, recognise negative numbers and extract and interpret data from simple tables and lists.

In 2008, fewer than 36,000 children (less than 6 per cent of pupils) failed to reach level 3 at KS2. For these children, the department is rolling out new programmes to raise standards in maths. The Every Child Counts intensive intervention programme targets the lowest attaining 5 per cent of pupils and will have national coverage from September 2010.

The maths specialist programme aims to train 13,000 primary teachers over 10 years so that every primary school will have access to a maths specialist who will improve maths teaching and learning.

By 2010-11, we aim to provide one-to-one tuition to 300,000 children a year in each of English and mathematics.