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Massive insult to primary teachers

Discussion in 'Education news' started by moscowbore, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter



    is there a primary teacher in the land who does not know which students can do times tables?

    "Ministers say the test will identify those struggling" - What a joke.

    Same old, same old. More testing, more assessment. All bolleaux.
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I wouldn't be surprised. Arithmetic isn't held in great esteem in Primary ITT and this communicates.

    Better this with a subject that is actually useful than testing children for their "British Values".
    JL48 likes this.
  3. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yep. Beaucoup de bolleaux. Times 100!
    catbefriender and Pomza like this.
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So now weeks and weeks of daily times tables lessons at the expense of all the interesting stuff to make sure the school scores well in the league table!
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Interests vary with teacher, pupil and time. This is for the pupils' future benefit, the point of education.
    primenumbers likes this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    But it won't work like that will it. There will be hours and hours of tables drills to make sure the school looks good in the league, further narrowing the curriculum.
    TCSC47, catbefriender and BetterNow like this.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's unfortunate that some school leaders need this motivation in order to ensure the job is done.
  8. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    i wonder ,who will be marking these tests ,will they be paid for their time ?HT and SMT should mark them ,so no fiddling goes on with the marks ! Could help to make sure pass their PM
    Marshall likes this.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    They are primarily online, automated.
  10. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    The issue isn't the tests for me, it's the deceit and mistrust that goes with it.

    Times tables are part of the curriculum and should be taught by the end of year 4, as per the curriculum. In my school, as I imagine with many, this isn't stuck to as an absolute target and, although children are taught them and they are practiced, if they don't know them perfectly by the end of year 4 it isn't seen as a big deal and the time that would have been spent hammering them is generally used to good effect in other areas of maths, often ones which reinforce the tables anyway. So, a test on times tables isn't a problem - we will tighten up on that. Other areas will receive less coverage but that's the swings and roundabouts of a curriculum that's too full.

    The problem is the lack of clarity and outright lies in the inception and purpose of the test. The line about informing teachers was in the consulatation and, at the time, I made the point of it being insulting to think we needed a national test to inform us which children could or couldn't do their tables. Why not simply say "We think this is a fundamental aspect of the curriculum and want to monitor it's delivery and effectiveness across the country." It baffles me why the government resorts to lies when the truth is perfectly acceptable.
    drek, TCSC47, SportyK and 2 others like this.
  11. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Thanks Vince I do not work in the primary sector. At least one set of figures that cannot be changed, by putting pressure on classroom teachers.
  12. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    This is an interesting discussion but I thought you might like to know the following:

    Schools minister refuses to take his own times tables check


    And here are two viewpoints:

    'The fact is, learning times tables does pupils a world of good'


    'The new times tables tests don't test depth of knowledge – it's purely recall'

    TCSC47 and phlogiston like this.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Anything that helps ensure students are proficient with their times tables is welcomed by me.

    As a physics teacher it is really difficult to teach the subject when a large proportion of the students just do not know or are not confident with their times tables. I end up having to teach a maths lesson before I can teach the physics.
    drek, peter12171, BetterNow and 5 others like this.
  14. primenumbers

    primenumbers New commenter

    And that is still not enough. Some more would be better.

    Teaching Maths at secondary school level to pupils without instant recall of timetables is like teaching English to students, who can't spell simple 3-letter words.
    drek, Norsemaid, peter12171 and 2 others like this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Do you have evidence for this, Vince? My experience of working with student teachers up until 4 years ago is that the only things covered in any depth in ITT are maths & English. NQTs have studied and taught those throughout their training, but are clueless about how to teach history or PE or DT or...

    As a retired primary teacher, I never, in my 35 year teaching career, worked in a primary school where tables were not taught, practised & tested, sent home to be learnt as homework, recognition given for improved accuracy and speed, etc, etc.

    I administered a time-limited weekly tables test, focusing on the tables individual children were still insecure with through to testing all tables as and when children were at that point. Over the course of the year, improvement was clear to see for most children. But, of course, not all, for a variety of reasons.

    Now I do an afternoon of maths interventions each week, and two of my pupils I have worked with for three years now. Despite excellent teaching in an outstanding school, plus the additional time with me, they are now in Y6 and do not know their tables. I doubt they ever will, even if they did nothing else all day at school, because they do not retain the information. 20/20 one day, back to 8/20 the next.

    What is the government trying to do with this test? How long till the results are published and used as yet another stick with which to beat schools and individual teachers. It's unnecessary, because schools already teach tables.
  16. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    My point exactly.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Yes, actually:

    'Three problems with the new primary times tables check'
    "A [senior education lecturer at Edge Hill University] in primary maths argues that the government's proposed times tables check will do more harm than good"
    TES,com, 22nd March 2017.

    You & I have been around the houses on this before. My position, still, is not that Primary does not cover the curriculum but that this is all it does, it does not consolidate the basics, and consequently pupils arrive in Year 7 lacking the arithmetical foundations to grow into mathematics proper. Primary teachers spend too much time extending into the non-statutory when they should be consolidating the statutory. You are my evidence to this last, a retired Primary teacher who has been needed to provide mathematics interventions for the past three years at the same Primary school to the same pupils. Clearly there is something wrong here.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  18. h001

    h001 New commenter

    As a year 6 teacher, it is difficult to teach much of the year 6 maths curriculum to children who do not know their tables.
    drek, palmtree100, TCSC47 and 7 others like this.
  19. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    A bit confused....I was asking for your evidence that arithmetic isn't held in great esteem in Primary ITT, as you claimed. Not sure your quote provides that evidence....

    Three questions:
    - when did you last work in primary?
    - have you taught the most recent primary maths curriculum?
    - have you seen the new KS2 maths SATs tests?

    Maths teaching in primary now consists almost entirely of teaching and consolidating 'the basics'. KS2 SATs is heavily weighted towards arithmetic. There is also so much to cover that there is no time for anything 'non-statutory'. In fact, there is so much to cover that there is (sadly) no time to teach understanding, just methods.
  20. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Nationally, the agenda is more focused on raising the standards of T&L in KS3, in order that pupils' progress from KS2 doesn't flatline (or, as is too often the case, go backwards). The most prominent report on this matter found that

    Many secondary schools do not build sufficiently on pupils’ prior learning. Many of the senior leaders interviewed said that they do not do this well enough and accepted that some pupils would repeat some of what they had done in Key Stage 2.[1] Pupil responses indicate that repeating work is more of an issue in mathematics and English than in the foundation subjects.


    Key Stage 3 is not a high priority for many secondary school leaders in timetabling, assessment and monitoring of pupils’ progress. Eighty five per cent of senior leaders interviewed said that they staff Key Stages 4 and 5 before Key Stage 3. Key Stage 3 is given lower priority, where classes are more often split between more than one teacher or where pupils are taught by non-specialists.


    Title of the report says it all really...

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