Wednesday, 19 November 2008

£2.5billion spent and maths is still not adding up

Almost a quarter of children are leaving primary school with a poor grasp of maths even though spending on the subject has soared to £2.5billion a gear, public finance watchdogs have revealled.

Around 135000 pupils start secondary school unable to cope with their courses. This is little improvement on 2000 despite a 30% increase in funding over the same period.

About 66000 bright pupils are failing to make the progress of which they should be capable at primary school, while 34000 11-year-olds are no better at maths than most seven-year-olds. In a reversal of the usual trend, girls are falling further behind boys.

Tim Burr, the head of the National Audit Office said, "The rate of improvement in primary mathematics has slowed and almost a quarter of pupils are still not equipped with the understanding of mathematics they need to study the subject further, or to tackle subjects such as science once they start secondary school."

The £2.3 billion spent on teaching maths in primary schools works out at £572 per pupil and represents more than a fifth of the total expenditure of £10billion on primary teaching.

Although pupils in their final year at primary school achieved the best results so far in maths SATs last year, almost a quarter, 23%, failed to achieve the expected level.

I hope that the new framework will go some to to challenging this issue, but it still requires proper funding to train all staff to understand it fully.

1 comment:

Miles Berry said...

Thanks for posting this. One initiative after another and still things don't get that much better - have a look at the KS2 L5 SATs results, flawed as they may be, since the Numeracy Framework came in - big rise in the first year and then relatively steady since.

I'm personally quite impressed by Prof David Burghes' efforts in this area, have a look at and the excellent MEP scheme ( that he masterminded, at a fraction of the cost of the national strategies.