Numeracy 'not without cost'

6th October 2000 at 01:00
HEADTEACHERS have welcomed the National Numeracy Strategy, despite reservations over workload and the impact it has had on other subjects.

A survey by the National Association of Head Teachers suggests all schools have added a daily maths lesson to the timetable in addition to the literacy hour. However, more than 80 per cent of schools report they are spending far less time on the humanities, art and physical education.

According to David Hart, the union's general secretary, primary schools are no longer providing a balanced curriculum. "The strategy has been a success, but not without cost. Workload has been excessive. A broad curriculum has gone out of the window. Government needs to remedy these defects urgently if the gains in standards made by the strategy are to continue, he says.

Maths scores for 11-year-olds have gone up 13 percentage points over the past two years. The numeracy strategy was fully introduced last year, but many schools began using the materials 12 months ahead of schedule.

The survey confirms that teachers believe children enjoy maths more and the strategy has improved their own maths skills. Schools are introducing more setting and streaming for the maths lesson.

However, the combination of the English and maths strategy has led to much more work. Teachers say they are exhausted, stressed and under considerable pressure.

Almost a quarter of the 1,432 teachers in the survey reported that the strategy had had a negative impact on morale. The survey was carried out last term.

Maths for arts students, 11

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