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19th December 2008 at 00:00

It is true that the last few years have been difficult for subject associations. Development has been seen in top-down terms. Government is not content to give general direction to a national curriculum, but involves itself in every detail of content and delivery. Most toxic of all is the obsession with league tables, which act as the major drivers. It is not wholly surprising that the more considered and longer term approaches of subject associations have not been in fashion.

However, the tide is turning. The idea of central control from Whitehall can be seen as ultimately ineffective. Even when exam results improve, there is an underlying unease that breadth of understanding has been compromised by the need to drill test techniques. The future can be fertile territory for subject associations. In the Mathematical Association we face the future with great confidence. Membership and finances are stabilising, and the enthusiasm and energy of our members are as great as ever.

Robert Barbour, President, Mathematical Association, Bewdley, Worcestershire.

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