Calls to update curriculum after claims maths teaching is ‘stuck in the dark ages’

The Evening Standard is reporting that tuition expert William Petty said maths teaching was often “stuck in the dark ages” and the curriculum needed to catch up. 

Ahead of tomorrow’s GCSE results, he said the subject had to become more conceptually based so pupils could relate it to the real world. 

Despite recent changes in the maths GCSE curriculum, Mr Petty said: “Mathematical teaching is stuck in the dark ages and is not conceptually based. It is still based on learning by rote despite endless studies proving it doesn’t work.” 

“The issue is what is happening in the classroom. It’s very difficult to get teachers to do things in a certain way by doctoring the curriculum.” 

Mr Petty suggested it was possible the brightest pupils were “not pushed enough” as schools only had to demonstrate a rise in overall A*-C pass rates to keep parents happy. 

He said it was “embarrassing” for Britain that there was still such a gender gap between the numbers of girls and boys taking maths and science subjects after GCSE.

More at: Calls to update curriculum after claims maths teaching is ‘stuck in the dark ages’

Do you think theres needs to be a change in the maths curriculum? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Transgender teacher was told to 'think of the children' when school stopped giving her work during her change to female
Is Ofsted in crisis after resignation of chairman David Hoare?
Categories: Secondary and Teaching.


  1. DrippingOn

    SchoolsImprove Maths teacher at Chesterfield School did a David Hoare and suggested pupil must know answer as not inbred from Barrow Hill !

  2. MrBlachford

    SchoolsImprove are there any facts to go with this piece? It seems to be rambling set of unqualified statements. Thoughts greg_ashman ?

  3. Jacq

    Something has to change! The way maths is taught for some young people is causing tremendous anxiety they don’t understand the concepts and as a consequence do not associate it with the real world so the brightest aren’t challenged and those at the bottom end are continually required to retake which is a form of mental abuse!

  4. MrBlachford SchoolsImprove greg_ashman Authorship by a ‘tuition expert’ who’s a director of Bonas Macfarlane Consulting Limited, ‘one of the UK’s most respected providers of private tuition and educational advice’ throws doubt on its impartiality.  
    That said, Andreas Schleicher, education stats guru at the OECD which runs the PISA international education tests, says the reason why the UK doesn’t do particularly well in PISA maths (scoring at the OECD average) is because it relies on memorisation of algorithms and the like rather than conceptual understanding.

  5. dorisdapple

    SchoolsImprove #maths is #magic I use it to help with #anxiety attacks by #subtracting 7 from 100 or doing x tables backwards, #mindgames

Let us know what you think...