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Making Maths Count

Published: 3 Sep 2015 10:04
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Stronger focus on maths in schools.

Efforts to drive maths attainment in schools and refocus Scotland's attitude to maths learning are being stepped up.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance has announced greater support will be given to secondary-school level maths teachers through a new group established to prepare and share resources.

In addition, a group with responsibility for raising the profile of maths and numeracy as an essential skill for learning, life and work, will be set up.

The establishment of both groups marks the first steps of Making Maths Count, a Government-led programme with the aim of improving maths and numeracy attainment in primary and secondary school.

This work follows the Scottish Government launch of Read, Write, Count campaign last month, to encourage greater parental involvement in supporting early literacy and numeracy skills of P1-3 pupils, and the launch of the Scottish Government's £100 million Attainment Challenge to support learning in disadvantaged communities.

Earlier this week, the First Minister announced the establishment of a National Improvement Framework, with national standardised assessments in literacy and numeracy for pupils in P1, 4, 7 and in the third year of secondary school.

Ms Constance said:

"Maths has a vital place at the heart of our curriculum and maths and numeracy are one of the gateways to success in work, learning and life. As Education Secretary, I want to see attainment in both improve at all ages and stages.

"While we are already investing heavily and taking forward a range of actions to support primary and secondary-level learning, it is clear from our national attainment data that improving numeracy is an urgent area for action.

"That's why I am launching Making Maths Count. The two groups I am announcing today will have important and distinct remits.

"We have already provided a package of resources to teachers to support delivery of maths teaching within Curriculum for Excellence. Today I am pleased to announce that a teacher-led group will take that work further. They will consult directly with the maths teaching workforce in secondary schools to assess what more can be done to ensure both teachers and pupils get the support they need. The group will be formed next month and will present an interim progress report to me by the end of the year.

"And while the world around us is continually evolving, the role of maths and numeracy in our labour market, our economy and our day-to-day lives will be here forever. It will only become more important as sectors such as digital technologies continue to grow.

"We need to promote greater enthusiasm for and confidence in maths and numeracy amongst young people and their parents and redress some of the cultural assumptions that are holding back our potential.

"I will be setting the new group the challenge of making maths matter more to Scotland. I want them to provide new ideas on promoting the benefits of maths and numeracy and how this can improve the quality of education and raise attainment. It will have a strong focus on understanding attitudes and promoting maths and numeracy and how we can address the myths and assumptions that surround maths and numeracy.

"It will be important that this new profile-raising group for Mathematics and Numeracy will involve partners and engage widely with young people, parents, business and academia as well as teachers.

"I will say more about further work to be taken forward through Making Maths Count in coming weeks, including at the Scottish Learning Festival, but our vision is clear. By building a strong base of robust and consistent evidence, we can take big strides towards improving Scotland's relationship with maths, strengthening attainment performance in schools and supporting our future economy."