Crunch time in numbers game;Letter;Opinion

9th July 1999 at 01:00
HAVING attended a three-day numeracy training programme managed by Reading Unitary Authority, my maths co-ordinator, another teacher, a parent governor and I all returned to school most enthused by the strategy and encouraged by the practice promoted in the training materials.

At last! We felt maths had been clarified and organised for all schools, not just those who had the benefit of an expert maths co-ordinator. (And heaven help those secondary schools who now fail to acknowledge the content and attainment of its feeder primary pupils).

Everything had been done to help hard-pressed teachers and yet there was still flexibility. And yes, we did discuss important educational issues such as classroom organisation, how children learn mathematics, planning and so on. Our training was very skilfully delivered by Viv Davies, a maths specialist working part-time for Reading. Perhaps this is the key issue? Any training package, no matter how good, also needs a knowledgeable and sensitive delivery. As a passionate ex-maths co-ordinator and now a headteacher, I thoroughly enjoyed re-focusing myself on curriculum matters, rather than finance, contracts and drains! The numeracy strategy seems to have an excellent training package for all staff, whatever their experience.

Our next numeracy training day, held last week with other schools (also organised by Reading LEA) was for every teacher in school, thus avoiding the dreaded "cascade scenario". The staff had done some preparation previously, supported by our co-ordinator, and found the day to be particularly helpful.

We did have discussion opportunities, but did not need to be convinced - we could see that it was good - reflecting best effective practice and providing cross-curricular advice on many issues, such as group work and monitoring. The training package was succinct, clear, well-organised, thought-provoking and stimulated many new ideas for a maths week next year.

The numeracy strategy underlined our professional judgment and gave us renewed confidence. I know we were not the only school in Reading to experience this feeling.

Perhaps Jenny Smith (TES letters, June 11) should talk frankly to her local authority about how it plans to develop and support its schools and the professional judgments therein? The numeracy strategy may be very good but it cannot also be responsible for how the training is delivered.

Chris Tomkins Caversham primary Hemdean Road Caversham Reading

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today