Teachers sidelined in maths revamp

4th June 2004 at 01:00
Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, is holding high-level private meetings to tackle the "crisis" in maths education.

Anita Straker, former head of the key stage 3 and national numeracy strategies, has been appointed as a temporary maths "tsarina" to spearhead government attempts to boost the subject.

Mr Clarke, who has a Cambridge degree in maths and economics and who is a former maths lecturer, is taking charge of the meetings with a host of leading government education figures.

Insiders say he believes the maths crisis, highlighted in a damning independent report, is one of the most serious facing his department.

The Smith report, published in February, outlined a catalogue of maths failings over 20 years, from botched curriculum reforms to the failure of ministers to collect proper data on staff shortages. Responses being considered include a double maths GCSE, offered at two levels rather than the present three. Pupils may also have to study financial management.

However, the Advisory Committee on Maths Education, set up with ministerial blessing to advise on teachers' views, was not invited to the meetings.

Professor Peter Saunders, of the Joint Mathematical Council, said:

"Decisions are being taken which are absolutely crucial to the future of maths education, without the involvement of the maths community. What's going on?"

Mr Clarke has not yet published a formal response to the Smith inquiry.

Those close to him say that he is serious about reform and that the ACME members will be given a chance to influence changes as the proposals are developed.

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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today