4th September 1998 at 01:00
Co-ordinating Mathematics Across the Primary School. By Tony Brown. Falmer Press Pounds 12.95.

Tony Brown pitches this book at the right level for non-specialists. It avoids academic jargon in a way that is essential if it is to work in the primary school. I particularly like his inclusive style - there is much use of 'we', 'you', 'your'. I felt he was talking to me personally.

"The book covers just about all the key issues, without providing so much that the task becomes daunting. It is well structured: each chapter is subdivided into a cluster of topics, and it is easy to select either a general area or a specific one. No single section is too long, and there are useful summaries and checklists.

"I was keen to see what the book said about planning (the staff at St Giles have been praised for their work planning by OFSTED and by their local authority) and I found it helpful without being over-prescriptive. It lists a variety of methods and approaches, goes on to describe them and then points out the advantages and disadvantages of each. This gives schools the opportunity to choose what is right for them. Although a range of approaches is covered, the author continually emphasises the important features that should appear whatever method is adopted.

"At first, I expected more references to the National Numeracy Project, especially with regard to planning. However, as I read on, I started to enjoy the fact that the book sees the teaching of maths as being a lot more than the improvement of test results. It is about maths being a challenging and enjoyable subject. This comes across very clearly. Indeed, schools that have low test performance will find the book reassuring, putting the subject as it does, into perspective."

Sarah Evans

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