'We're not banning calculators'

10th July 1998 at 01:00
IT HAS been rumoured that primary pupils are to be barred from using calculators in maths lessons until the age of eight. Indeed, the official press notice accompanying the numeracy strategy says as much. However, the Education Secretary said this week: "We're not banning calculators."

The strategy document says: "There is no place in primary school mathematics lessons for using calculators as a prop for simple arithmeticI Used well, however, (they) can be an effective tool for learning about numbers and the number system."

The authors recommend that their use be limited, particularly among younger children. The final decision rests with schools.

In fact, as the task force is well aware, government research has already found that calculators are rarely used in primary maths; 53 per cent of 11-year-olds rarely or never used them; a further 25 per cent did so only once a week.

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