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How do you stretch the brightest pupils in maths? A quirky series of textbooks which aims to address this question have been penned by the former president of the Maths Association. 'Extension Mathematics' by Tony Gardiner aims to provide pupils with deeper knowledge of the subject by improving problem solving skills, rather than by racing through national curriculum topics.

It will be welcomed by those in the maths community who believe that pupils need to "dig deeper in order to build higher" and study maths in depth in order to pursue the subject at a higher level.

Professor Alan Smithers' report last month criticised findings showing that although UK teenagers performed well in their SATs, they had actually dropped in international comparisons of maths ability.

Some suggested this was because pupils were not given the opportunity to study more complex problems. The textbooks, which are aimed at Years 7, 8 and 9, and are accessible to the top 25 per cent of the ability range, are published by Oxford University Press.

See a review of the textbooks onThe TES website.

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