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Number crunching

Getting to grips with numbers should give pupils greater confidence and determination to overcome problems, the Scottish Executive believes. It is not just a matter of mathematical achievement.

This will be spelt out in guidance to be issued in the New Year, according to the official leading the new curriculum initiative in the Scottish Executive.

The most recent policy statement, Building the Curriculum 3-18, underlined the commitment to making numeracy as central to teaching as literacy. "To face the challenges of the 21st century, each young person needs to have confidence in using mathematical skills, and Scotland needs both specialist mathematicians and a highly numerate population," the document stated.

Gill Robinson, from the executive's curriculum and assessment branch, told a conference on the role of numeracy that, following the issuing of the guidance, "we will enter a process of engagement with teachers. We need to test (the statements) to ensure they are clear and that they distil unambiguously what the expectations are. We hope that many teachers will take part in this process.

"Successful learning and teaching in numeracy helps to develop resilience and confidence - understanding that it feels uncomfortable to tackle tricky problems but letting children experience success."

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