Time, please

1st August 1997 at 01:00
In his diagnosis of the "maths crisis", Professor Sig Prais states that the "Government did not appear to be providing enough money to tackle the problem". His recommendations include "suitable textbooks".

Children do not learn numeracy through textbooks, although they may be of use in reinforcing concepts and skills. Children learn through building sound foundations. These should be laid during the first years at school where teachers know the importance of practical experiences for acquiring number concepts.

More money, welcome though it would be, is not necessarily the answer but, rather, more time and less external pressure would help. The national curriculum in its present form is overloaded for key stages 1 and 2.

All that is old is not necessarily bad. The 1982 Cockcroft Report (Mathematics Counts, particularly pages 83-108) has many of the answers on numeracy.

Together with the work being done by the National Numeracy Task Force, much more constructive advice will soon be available to the profession than that provided by the National Institute of Economic Research.


50 Sydney Road Bexleyheath Kent

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