Just one maths mastery textbook has been approved for funding under a government scheme aimed at spreading the East Asian method of teaching.
A textbook called Maths – No Problem! was the only one to meet the government’s criteria for its Teaching for Mastery funding programme, which funds teacher training and subsidises textbooks about maths mastery.
This has raised concerns about the lack of choice for schools, with even the publishers of Maths – No Problem! saying they would rather see more high-quality maths textbooks available.
Martin Casimir, managing director of Maths – No Problem!, said: "The DfE’s announcement today should go some way to weeding out the plethora of providers out there in the market place jumping on the mastery bandwagon but whose methods are not founded in research. They simply serve to confuse teachers and hamper the roll-out of the mastery method."
Publishers were invited to submit textbooks for review by an expert panel set up by the Department for Education.
The criteria include ensuring that there is a comprehensive set of teacher manuals with curriculum content and pedagogical guidance and hard copy pupil text books and practice exercises, having assessment activities and teacher guides that enable teachers to anticipate and plan how to taken misconceptions.
The books were submitted in the 2017 spring term. The panel concluded that the Maths – No Problem! book met this criteria. Schools in the teaching for mastery programme will be able to claim match-funding up to £2,000 to purchase this textbook.
Another review panel process will be set up later this summer.
Maths – No Problem!, which is based on the principles of maths programmes in Singapore, was one of two maths mastery textbooks, along with Inspire Maths published by OUP, which were trialled in English schools in 2014.
The DfE has been contacted for comment.