# Back to basics?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Jubblies, Mar 11, 2012.

1. ### Jubblies

Now that Academies have the freedom to not follow the NC, how should we change the approach to teaching in Y7 to ensure that all students leave Y7 with a solid grounding in the 4 operations, and ideally their times tables memorised...?

IMO, the trick would have to be in giving plenty of practice time for written methods, a bit of time each lesson for mental methods, and maybe a problem-solving activity each week to try to show what these skills can be used for.

If we can sell the kids on WHY (it makes everything else you will do in maths a squillion times easier), then that might also help.

If you had budget enough to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?

2. ### Jubblies

Now that Academies have the freedom to not follow the NC, how should we change the approach to teaching in Y7 to ensure that all students leave Y7 with a solid grounding in the 4 operations, and ideally their times tables memorised...?

IMO, the trick would have to be in giving plenty of practice time for written methods, a bit of time each lesson for mental methods, and maybe a problem-solving activity each week to try to show what these skills can be used for.

If we can sell the kids on WHY (it makes everything else you will do in maths a squillion times easier), then that might also help.

If you had budget enough to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?

3. ### GoldMathsNew commenter

I would have a "graduation" system, I cannot see the point in teaching area before a child can multiply. Nor can I see the point in teaching geometry before a student can add and takeaway three digit numbers.

Too many times I find myself teaching a student Level 5/Grade D material and then when I assess them they lose all accuracy marks due to not being able to do Level 3/Grade F numeracy.

4. ### AnonymousNew commenter

I totally agree with that. I've just picked up a level 4c / b tutee in Year 9. Struggles with dividing. percentage, ratio and fractions. In his book - he's doing solving X^3 + x = 20 by trial and error. His year 9 target is a 5c.
Get the basics sorted before the complex stuff.

5. ### stevencarrwork

Totally agree,

The number of students I see who want help with inter-quartile ranges when they can't work out what a quarter of something is.

Or students working on factorising quadratics who cannot solve 2x + 5 = 19

6. ### Anna-Luise

It's an old problem and a common problem. We all find ourselves teaching things to students that they're not ready for. As a tutor, when a student comes to me TOO LATE I have no choice but to try to throw up some sort of temporary maths shack when I'd rather be laying foundations. I know it's pointless and they'll forget everything I tell them very soon but I have to help them improve their grade. I hope that they can carry their newly built house of cards into the exam hall.

I'd love to see pre GCSE maths broken down into a series of shorter courses where a good pass is required to move on, as GoldMaths says, a 'graduation' system. Some students would never reach GCSE but they would probably have a better understanding of what they have studied.

I know that such a change won't happen. Too many practical problems? Maybe it's a rubbish idea?

7. ### AnonymousNew commenter

I think there are basics which absolutely need to be learnt before other higher stuff is introduced.Maybe this idea of a "numeracy" qualification instead of mathematics is a good idea.

8. ### DMNew commenter

This "freedom" is no more than a soundbite. Any school that decides not to follow the NC will find Ofsted crawling all over them.
From the Guidance to Section 5 inspectors published January 2012 and released to all schools:
"A curriculum with breadth and balance in maintained schools is likely to consist of the National Curriculum subjects, religious education (RE) and a variety of other courses and programmes, including extra-curricular and enhancement activities put on by the school and its partners. Where a school does not provide the National Curriculum and RE, inspectors will need to fully explore the school's reasons."

9. ### Jubblies

What if we're doing the NC for all other year groups, and for Y7 we are covering only certain aspects of the NC at the start of the year...? Couldn't we be covering all the number aspects of the NC first...?
I'm not talking about a total withdrawal from the NC, just the flexibility to ensure that Y7 have a solid foundation in the basics before they are expected to start solving equations.

10. ### DMNew commenter

If you believe the propaganda for the new NC, it will be a very rare thing to find a pupil leaving Primary School without a firm foundation in the basics so that seems quite unnecessary.

11. ### Jubblies

But in the short term....?
Would they really say 'yes, I know we've said that they should all have a good grounding in the basics, and are in fact changing the way they do maths in Primary Schools SO that they have a good grounding in the basics, but if you dare go off-NC in the meantime with year 7 to achieve this with the students already out of Primary school, then we're sending Ofsted in to get you *grrrrr* ?

12. ### SQUIDLEY

Hi all, We are currently working on solving some of the major problems with primary maths education, as this is where it all goes wrong?
We are working on a website www.12xtables.co.uk which is aimed at the practice of basic primary maths skills. It is free to use and is set up so it can be used in the classroom as well as at home. It generates random differentiated questions, with written work as well as interactive screens. comments are very welcome.
We have also invented an exciting series of maths manipultives that may well change primary maths in the UK, which should be available very soon. These will give pupils of all abilities an insight into basic maths, that will leave them coming back for more.
Bring back remedial studies to teach basic skills to older failed pupils, it is pointless pushing them forward with the NC.
WHAT A MESS!