The Telegraph is reporting schools minister Nick Gibb as suggesting that primary schools should start maths lessons with traditional times table memory sessions to ensure children master “instant recall” by the age of nine…
Pupils should know their tables up to 12 x 12 by heart two years before completing primary education, said Nick Gibb.
He said “early memorisation” of the multiplication tables was vital to ensure pupils developed a fluency in the maths before tackling more complex subjects at a later stage.
The minister praised schools that were seeking to ensure pupils master basic skills by introducing Chinese-style “fluency sessions and times tables tests at the start of each lesson”, insisting they were a “helpful step forward”.
The comments were made in a letter to 30 Shanghai teachers who have been working in English state schools over the last month to help improve standards of maths.
n the letter, he praised their focus on “the mastery approach” and insisted it was right that pupils spend “more time on high-quality, productive practice” to develop a “deeper, stronger mathematical understanding”.
Mr Gibb told the Telegraph that English pupils were now three years behind their Chinese peers by the age of 15 and similar methods should be adopted across the state education system to help close the gap…
Mr Gibb said: “I believe very strongly that every primary school pupil should know all their tables by heart, with instant recall by the end of year four at the latest; and should start learning their tables no later than year two.
“Our teachers have been eager to explore how you achieve the high level of fluency with tables and some schools are already introducing special ‘fluency sessions’ and times tables tests at the start of each lesson, which is a helpful step forward.
“Over time we intend to roll out the key elements of the Shanghai approach to maths more widely and truly transform the way maths is taught in this country, to ensure that the aims of the new curriculum are fully met…”
Maths teachers out there – what say you about these suggestions from Nick Gibb? Do they have merit? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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