Just need some answers

Is it true that bits of the DfE do not talk to each other? How is it that one end of  curriculum assessment is suggesting that maths needs to be made more relevant and appropriate to a digital age and another, at primary level, is saying that children should learn their ‘tables’ up to 12*12 and … This means learning times tables up to 12×12 and being able to carry out long multiplication and division without the aid of a calculator… says Education Minister Elizabeth Truss.

Also indicated:


  • adding and subtracting fractions with different denominations and mixed numbers
  • calculating the area of a parallelogram and a triangle, and the volume of a cuboid
  • using their knowledge of the order of operations to carry out calculations involving the four operations (division, multiplication, subtraction and addition)

Tests under the current curriculum do not ask as much of pupils. For instance, they only have to know their 10×10 times tables and they only need to know how to calculate the area of squares and rectangles.

A new separate written arithmetic paper has been introduced to key stage 2 tests to ensure pupils are fluent in the discipline.

The government is also banning the use of calculators in tests for 11-year-olds from this year for the first time.

Also marks will only be given to pupils who get the wrong answer if they show their working has been done in efficient methods, including long and short division and multiplication instead of so-called ‘chunking’ or ‘grid methods’. Pupils who get the right answer will still get full marks, whatever method they have used.

As a thought:

Q: When did I last use my ability to add and subtract fractions with different denominations and mixed numbers?

A: When I took my GCE Maths – 55 years ago

Q: Why do people need to know the multiplication facts to 12*12 … have we  gone all American and still wish to use feet and inches and is our currency going back to £.s.d?

A: No idea and No and No

Q: When did I need to know (-*- =+)

A: Actually never … except in an exam

Q: When do children, in general, at the age of 11, need to know how to calculate the volume of a cuboid?

A: Never … if they did want to know – http://www.mathsisfun.com/cuboid.html

Q: Why are people so anti-calculator ?

A: No idea … what is the big deal about being able to do sums without one and do long multiplication by a non efficient method ( using a bit of paper etc) when a Google search will give the answer to 576*345 straight away? (198720)

Q: Is there an understanding about the difference between arithmetic and maths?

A: I think not

I could go on but the issue is clear that the things that we teach our young people should be relevant to their developing lives and not just so that the institutional education system can say that it is better than others in the world.

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