Ofsted applauds primary maths

28th February 2003 at 00:00
MATHS is the best-taught subject in primaries while geography and design and technology are the worst, says a new Office for Standards in Education analysis.

The watchdog's subject reports show that seven out of 10 lessons are good or better in maths, followed by around two-thirds in English and science.

The reports also warn that tests and targets are narrowing the range of subjects pupils study.

The analysis suggests that good teaching does not necessarily lead to higher pupil achievement. RE is well-taught in more than half of schools, but pupils' achievement is good or better in only one in three.

Art, on the other hand, has two-fifths of pupils achieving a good standard, despite a lower proportion of well-taught lessons.

Information and communications technology, history and music are all taught to a good standard in more than half of schools but pupils' achievement is good or better in only about two-fifths. PE is satisfactory in most schools.

The report on science warns test cramming is squeezing out valuable learning work. "To secure further improvements, effort will need to be targeted on those aspects of teaching and learning where there are remaining concerns, not simply on more rigorous test preparation."

The Ofsted geography report suggests the focus on literacy and numeracy may be to blame for poor standards in the subject. It says: "By the end of Years 2 and 6, pupils in the majority of schools underachieve in geography.

In implementing the literacy and numeracy strategies, many schools have given insufficient thought to the ways in which they can maintain acceptable standards in geography."

David Lambert, chief executive of the Geographical Association, also blamed a lack of geography training. "The geography curriculum is quite difficult to interpret if you are not a specialist. Under new teacher training standards it is quite possible for primary teachers to emerge with virtually no geography training at all."

Ofsted attacks targets, 11

Report details: www.ofsted.gov.ukpublications

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