Mr Gove, apologise for your maths blunder

2nd December 2011 at 00:00

As a maths teacher with 18 years' experience, I was incensed by Michael Gove's suggestion this week that all pupils can achieve a grade C in maths with a score of just 35 per cent. This demeans the efforts of those who have to work extremely hard to achieve this result, as mathematics does not come naturally to all.

It shows a complete lack of insight into the education system and the curriculum for maths. There are two tiers of entry for the GCSE exam, and although on the higher-tier paper pupils can achieve a grade C with just 35 per cent, Mr Gove has to understand that only 40 per cent of the paper is graded at a C grade or below. The other 60 per cent is at grades B to A*. It is therefore not unreasonable to award a pupil with a score of 35 per cent a grade C in this circumstance because it shows that they can answer the majority of questions that are at grade-C standard.

I would further point out that the majority of pupils who are only working at grade C will sit the foundation paper, which covers grades G to C and where the percentage required to achieve a grade C is around the 75 per cent mark. I would like to see Mr Gove apologise to the teaching profession for this blunder.

Janet McMaster, Maths teacher.

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