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Strategy dictates future of maths at 11

The new numeracy framework has 16 objectives for pupils in their first secondary year. Sarah Cassidy reports.

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLDS should be able to calculate decimals, fractions and percentages in their heads and use algebra, according to the new numeracy strategy for secondary schools.

The pupils must also be able to work out simple probabilities if they are to meet the Government's new targets.

They will be expected to understand a wide range of mathematical terms including: commutative, complement, partition, scalene, kite, power and index.

All schools will be expected to adopt the framework, published this week on the Internet. It sets out 16 key objectives for pupils for their first secondary year.

The document - The National Numeracy Strategy Framework for Teaching Mathematics: Year 7 - contains a 35-week teaching programme intended to bridge the gap between primaries and key stage three. It is the first part of a new framework for 11- to 14-year-olds.

The authors tell secondary maths teachers how to structure lessons.

Maths lessons in the early years of secondary should take the same form as those in primary, the guidance says. All lessons should typically star with five to 10 minutes whole-class oral work and mental maths and finish with another whole-class session of five to 15 minutes. The main teaching activity should include whole-class, group and individual work.

The document also stresses the importance of using maths across the curriculum.

It suggests using design activities to teach the geometric properties of shape, and using statistical evidence in history and geography to teach skills of measurement, estimation and approximation.

The document admits most secondaries will not have time for a daily maths lesson but urges them to spread lessons through the week rather than bunching them together.

A typical secondary currently spends around 12 per cent of teaching time on maths - around three hours a week.

Ann Kitchen, chair of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: "We welcome anything that helps teachers of mathematics. Our only concern is that some teachers may try and continue primary methods into secondaries where different approaches would be more appropriate."

The Year 7 literacy framework will be available shortly.

The new document is at www.standards.dfee.gov.ukschemescurriculum

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