If you missed last week’s “Dispatches” programme on channel 4 TV you would have been spared the shocking truth about our children’s maths performance in primary school. The second episode of “Kids don’t count” is being shown on 22nd of February, 2010 is an equal shocker.
A learning hiatus will occur before the failings in teaching resources revealed in the documentary can be resolved. But all is not lost as the teaching gap in our schools can be significantly filled with support from parents at home. Playing maths educational games now available for use at home along with other initiatives has been proven to help improve performance by up to two grades. These enjoyable games allow parents to see the value of this interaction throughout their child’s schooling whilst providing back up to the teaching issues at many schools
The root cause of the primary school failure stems from our teaching qualifications. It was evident from the first episode that if you do not have a qualified maths teacher in primary school it’s damn hard to teach maths. Equally it is almost impossible for kids to learn maths. Research proved if children do not grasp maths in primary school the links to science, design and technology subjects mean it is nye on impossible to succeed in secondary school. A lack of maths also severely hampers employment prospects.
A leading employer, Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury’s echoed similar comments from Sir Terence Leahy of Tesco and Sir Stuart Rose of Marks and Spencer’s critical of the standard of maths in children seeking employment. He believes the failure maths has almost become a badge of honour for the individual. The truth revealed in the previous “Despatches” programme is many teachers in school have inadequate qualifications to teach maths. Unfortunately the remedy could take years.
Akin to asking teachers who are tone deaf, can’t read music and do not play an instrument to teach music the critical nature of maths cannot be effectively taught by unqualified maths teachers. Recruiting and training the missing maths teachers is not going to happen overnight. But until there is a good qualified maths teaching resource at every primary school many children will reach the end of the conveyor belt unprepared for secondary school. There are around 26,000 primary schools in England and the clamour for maths teachers will be immense. The surprise is the maths teaching resources, the keystone to all learning, still remain outstanding by the DCSF in 2010.