Staff need maths lessons more than pupils

28th March 2003 at 00:00
MINISTERS should cut the school year by a week to allow their teachers to go on essential training courses, a leading maths specialist has suggested.

Doug French, of the Maths Association, said a government drive to boost the quality of teaching in maths would fail unless ministers took radical action.

The Government has announced a new national centre for excellence in maths teaching.

But Mr French said this would be a "damp squib" unless it was linked to a major programme of professional development for all staff, backed by guaranteed time to attend courses.

Mr French was speaking in a personal capacity, but his association believes staff shortages are blighting the subject.

Many students are taught by non-specialists, the Government's inquiry into the future of maths was told last month.

Mr French said schools were reluctant to send teachers on courses during the school day because of the shortage of cover. He said the Government should consider cutting the school year, set at 190 days, if it was serious about professional development.

He said: "I realise this is controversial. But we have to consider the quality of what is taught, as well as the quantity."

The Government is giving all teachers half a day a week away from lessons by 2005, but this is for marking and preparation, not for training.

Maths teachers and academics have welcomed the centre of maths excellence, but ministers are still looking for a sponsor. The pound;25 million national centre for excellence in science teaching, announced last year, is being funded by the Wellcome Trust. It is also unclear how the maths academy will link to grassroots professional development work done in schools.

The Government has asked Professor Adrian Smith, principal of Queen Mary College, London, who is leading the Government's inquiry into the future of maths, to advise it on costs and details.

Professor Smith's inquiry has been extended by three months to September after he said that the eight-month timetable was too tight.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now