Want to compete on the world stage? Do more maths

By Morwenna Evans Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Schools have been told to dedicate more time to the teaching of mathematics to try and haul Britain up the international league tables. One extra teaching hour a week is currently planned to make students competitive in this core subject. However, with oversubscription and varying class standards and sizes, is this move is enough to equip young people with the essential mathematics skills they need?

content image 925928

Students will also be required to learn fundamental mathematical formulae such as the sine and cosine rules and the formula for the area of the triangle.

The move has met some backlash however as some teachers have argued new courses were too challenging and too large placing ‘excessive demands’ on students.

The Department for Education said: ‘The new courses are ‘wider and deeper than the current programme and this is intentional’. It also commented that ‘International comparisons of performance in mathematics show that England’s pupils have been falling behind our competitors.’

‘An extra lesson each week would put England closer to jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore, which both teach an average of 138 hours a year of mathematics at secondary level.’

England, in contrast, spends only 116 hours a year teaching maths, or three per week during term time. Meanwhile, one in five teachers who responded to proposals for Education Minister Liz Truss said: ‘The amount of time currently given to maths teaching in our secondary schools lags behind the time afforded this key subject in world-leading countries. It is essential this is corrected.

What do you think? Is this measure a case of too little too late? Or is could the extra hour make all the difference to the standard of numeracy in the UK?

Categories: Maths-Careers