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A large project

I must protest about the comments on the National Numeracy Project (NNP) made by Ann Kitchen (TES, October 3).

First, she describes the NNP as "a small-scale study". It is neither a study nor small in scale. It involves directly more than 500 schools in 15 local authorities, and countless more schools in other local authorities that have chosen to base their own numeracy projects on the NNP's approaches and materials.

More than 23,000 pupils in NNP schools have been tested and retested to see how they are getting on. The analysis of results by the National Foundation for Educational Research has shown that in each of the three year groups being tracked, and in each LEA, there has been statistically significant progress.

The NNP does not have "pilot classes", as Ann Kitchen suggests. It is a "whole-staff" initiative. Although many of the schools are volunteers, some have been asked to participate by their education authorities. All teachers in a school take part and they include among them a normal range from the very enthusiastic to the initially sceptical.

They do have a relatively small amount of extra funding, equivalent to about Pounds 18 per pupil per year, most of which goes on supply cover. Of course, such extra money can trigger a Hawthorne effect, but if the effect has contributed to what the NNP is aiming to achieve, why belittle it?

ANITA STRAKER

Director, National Numeracy Project National Centre 59-65 London Street Reading Berkshire

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