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Darts champ's winning formula

Andy "the Viking" Fordham is used to being associated with the word "figure". This usually refers to his 30-stone physique. But this may be about to change. The World Professional Darts champion has lent his considerable weight to a campaign to persuade people to improve their number-crunching skills.

Andy, almost certainly Britain's largest world champion, provoked much mirth this year after TV cameras spotted his "fitness trainer" in the audience at the championship's famous venue, the Lakeside Country Club.

Now, in the latest example of government efforts to stress the real-world applications of maths, the pub landlord has spoken of how his experience at the oche has helped him become proficient at quick-fire mental arithmetic.

Andy, who runs a pub in Dartford, Kent, is backing the Government's "Get On" campaign, which aims to help 1.5 million adults improve their numeracy and literacy skills by signing up for training.

Darts players have to work out their score as they reduce their number of points from 501 to zero, finishing on a double.

Andy wants his fans to reflect on the importance of a mastery of mathematics and sign up for free numeracy courses. He said: "I've been playing darts for years and all my practice and experience has made me good at working out what I have scored and how I can get down to a double to win.

"As all darts players know, being quick with the sums helps you know how to win - we all need to know how to be able to get on to a double."

Last year, cricketer Phil Tufnell lent his name to the scheme.

And last week, The TES reported how a government-backed maths initiative has been trying to fire the interest of GCSE pupils from Leeds by playing them a clip from the hit film The Full Monty in which the stars discuss the economics of stripping.

Teacher magazine 30 Details of free "Get On" courses are available on 0800 100900

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