Top maths teachers are calling on the government to provide extra funding to implement mastery maths teaching in schools, The Telegraph reports.
Mastery maths teaching involves getting children to think mathematically, instead of learning formulas and processes by rote. The method is popular in East Asian countries such as Singapore, which is a world leader in mathematics teaching and attainment.
A survey of 360 maths teachers in the UK has found that 80 percent of them want the government to provide them with more training on the mastery method, and 90 percent of them say there is insufficient funding to implement the teaching in schools, despite government’s interest in it. The survey was carried out by Singapore based mastery specialist Maths No Problem.
The government recently announced a £41 million investment over 4 years to support mastery maths teaching in 8000 primary schools in England. However, respondents to the above survey say that only addresses some of the problem. Lack of understanding of the method among maths teachers makes it difficult for schools to adopt the teaching. In addition, close to half of those surveyed (49 percent) lacked confidence in their teaching ability to adequately deliver mastery maths lessons.
Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy, a charity to support maths learning, said:
“What is essential is that all teachers recognise that maths is something that virtually all children can master – it’s not a can do/can’t do subject – and that those teachers understand how to put that into practice in the classroom.
Struggling with maths has held back so many in this country and it’s why we have around 17 million adults with similar skills levels to those expected of children at primary school.”
Commenting on July’s funding announcement of £41 million, Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said at the time:
“The significant expansion of the south Asian maths mastery approach can only add to the positive momentum, with thousands more young people having access to specialist teachers and quality textbooks.
I am confident that the steps we are taking now will ensure young people are properly prepared for further study and the 21st-century workplace, and that the too often heard phrase ‘can’t do maths’ is consigned to the past.”