Imperial measurements are to make a return to the classroom amid fears that children are failing to learn about pints, pounds and miles. This is from the Telegraph…
Ministers said that a new curriculum “goes further” than previous documents drawn up under Labour by requiring schools to place imperial units at the heart of maths lessons.
Under new plans, a draft primary school syllabus requires pupils to understand and use the “basic equivalencies” between metric and common imperial systems.
The document also makes greater reference to miles to make sure children are fully aware of the standard measurement of speed and distance on British roads, it was revealed.
It represents a partial return to the mid-70s when state schools were first required to prioritise the metric system over imperial.
The move – outlined in a Parliamentary answer – comes despite calls from Lord Howe, the former Conservative chancellor, to ditch imperial measurements altogether to end the “deeply confusing shambles” of using two systems side-by-side.
Andrew Percy, the Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, who obtained the latest information, said: “Of course children should learn metric, but I’m concerned there isn’t enough focus on the prominence of imperial given that it is the lawful measurement of almost everything we do in this country.
“The fact is, it is illegal to use anything but imperial measures on the roads. When you get into your car, you measure petrol in miles per gallon, speed in miles per hour, road exits are in yards and the height of bridges is in feet and inches.
“Beyond that, we buy our beer and milk in pints and measure our height in feet and inches, so it is vital that we properly teach our children about imperial measurements.”
The current National Curriculum in primary schools, which was published under the last Government, only makes passing reference to imperial measurements.
It tells schools to recognise the need for “standard units of length, mass and capacity” and teach children to convert “one metric unit to another”. It adds that pupils should know the “rough metric equivalents of imperial units still in daily use”.
On Tuesday, the Department for Education insisted that metric units would still be used “as standard” in its new curriculum.
But responding to a Parliamentary question from Mr Percy, Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, said the Government intended to “include imperial units within the new programmes of study for mathematics”.
She added: “The draft goes further than the current National Curriculum in terms of what pupils are expected to learn in relation to imperial units, including explicit reference to miles.”