Poor grounding

20th October 1995 at 01:00
The "numeracy recovery" initiative ("More than adding up" (TES, October 6) is most praiseworthy. However, there could be far less need for such help at nine years old if key stage 1 children were not rushed on too rapidly to mathematical symbols in their early years. This is highlighted by the splendid article by Stuart Parker, "Signs and symbolism", in the same issue.

The national curriculum for maths at KS1 number requires far too much from teachers and children. If the programme of study for using and applying was allowed to develop and less "drill for skill" in sums was encouraged, children would have time to become numerate. Sadly, pressures on infant teachers to get to level 3 (or even level 4) are depriving the majority of young children of the enjoyment of numbers.

We need less "recovery" and better foundation-laying.

DR JULIA MATTHEWS 50 Sydney Road Bexleyheath Kent

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