Secondaries to increase maths teaching time
More than a quarter of schools are planning to increase the amount of time spent teaching maths next year, according to a survey.
Ahead of the introduction of a new maths GCSE next September, half of schools say they are introducing training programmes for staff, while more than a third are aiming to recruit more maths teachers.
The findings are contained in the Teacher Voice Omnibus, a survey of school leaders and teachers carried out for the Department for Education by the National Foundation for Educational Research.
Secondary school leaders were asked what steps they planned to take in preparation for the new maths GCSE. Reforms aim to make it more challenging, with a greater emphasis on problem-solving. The syllabus has been expanded by a third, with new topics including ratio and proportion. Students will be required to tackle financial mathematics and learn mathematical formulas by heart.
The government aims to encourage more students to go on to study maths at A-level. The number taking maths A-level has risen by 15.3 per cent since 2010 and this year maths overtook English to become the most popular A-level subject for the first time in more than a decade.
The survey finds that 28 per cent of secondary schools plan to increase teaching time for maths by up to one hour at key stage 4, while 27 per cent aim to do so at key stage 3.
Half of secondary leaders say they will introduce a programme of professional development for maths teachers and 36 per cent say they will recruit additional staff.
School reform minister Nick Gibb said he welcomed the news that teachers were responding to the new course by increasing the amount of time spent on maths. “Our plan for education is ensuring more pupils will benefit from an increased focus on maths and other key academic subjects,” he added.
The survey finds that half of schools are planning to retain existing systems for assessing students’ progress in the new national curriculum, introduced this September, while 23 per cent say they are going to use a new system developed by their school or group of schools. A further 19 per cent are undecided.
Teachers were also asked about pupil behaviour. The survey shows that 84 per cent rate their pupils’ behaviour as good or very good, while only 4 per cent say it is poor or very poor.