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In praise of maths mastery

The teaching method favoured in China is about to be rolled out to 8,000 English primaries. But fear not, teacher Jon Brunskill is optimistic that it could transform the way schools teach students

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“I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed,” wrote Marco Polo in the 13th century. He’s obviously not the only westerner to be dazzled by the beliefs and practices of the Far East. More than 700 years later, it is the turn of schools minister Nick Gibb, who took a trip to China back in March. Like Polo, he had many a tale to tell on his return.

Also, like Polo, he is yet to convince many teachers of the validity of the tales. Gibb returned to the UK intent on introducing the Shanghai approach to maths – the so-called mastery approach – to our schools. It has been ...

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