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How to turn a positive negative

SINCE September, when the numeracy strategy was introduced, my mixed-age class of key stage 1 pupils have worked with great enthusiasm and increasing confidence.

Their methods for problem-solving are becoming more accurate and I am delighted with their progress. Like most teachers, I have followed the advice in the document having attended my three-day training last summer, and after initial doubts about entirely changing methods and approach, have been impressed that the assurances given were true.

Instead of spending weeks using Unifix and Dienes apparatus, we are all happily using mental strategies, hundred squares and number lines, and my Year 2s think they are brilliant mathematicians!

During half-term I read my copy of the assessment and reporting arrangements for this yea's national tests. To my dismay I discover the "Interlocking cubes or structured apparatus should be provided for each child.....For the 2000 test children should not be provided with number lines or number squares.... when the test will be based on the revised national curriculum".

Why? Have the writers of this book been totally unaware of primary maths teaching over this academic year?

By all means leave the structured apparatus in for those who need it, but please give those children who have so enthusiastically and successfully managed the transition so well a chance to display their skills.

I feel that I and they are entitled to an honest answer, and even at this late stage a change of mind.

Janet Mansfield

Infant teacher

Lowca school

Cumbria

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