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Vorderman Mathematics Task Force - Update

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by DM, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter

    In case people don't know, the future direction of mathematics education in this country is currently being shaped by Vordy and her band of unpaid cronies (Chris Budd, Pepe Hart, Roger Porkess, Richard Dunne and Carrie Dunne). I trust Roger's judgement (I'm glad he is involved and suspect he is the reason why secondary mathematics has largely escaped her attention) but have serious reservations about the others - apologises to the Dunne fans who lurk around these parts.
    I don't know Hart but, if this is her, then Carol met her when presenting her with a Pride of Britain Award. God help us.
    Nick Gibb intends to accept the Taskforce's recommendations in full. The interim report will be published in March and some of the key points are below. However, the Devil is in the detail and every primary teacher will be seriously affected.
    Mathematics is to be made a subject of "special status" and will possibly be known as "the subject of critical importance". The study of mathematics is to be made compulsory for all students until the age of 18.
    A Level mathematics and further mathematics will be left alone for a while but the amount of mathematics in other A Levels (particularly physics) will be increased.
    The GCSE linked pair pilot is to be "expanded seamlessly" after two years.
    She has concerns about the quality of the mathematics teaching workforce but I don't know what she plans to do about that.
    Carol believes that "over the last ten years there has been an astonishing micro-mismanagement of every minute in the primary classroom". She says the National Numeracy Strategy makes "no sense" and cites as an example the criteria of "understanding that doubling is the undoing of halving". She intends to completely change the primary mathematics curriculum. She does not agree with the topic based approach of the Rose Review and will insist that the amount of time primary teachers spend on mathematics is increased substantially. All children will be completely fluent in arithmetic by the time they move up to secondary school. She sees increased primary/secondary liason as a way to ensure this happens.

  2. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    Thanks for the detailed intro to this, DM. Do you have a reference for it? [Not that I don't trust you - quite the reverse - but it would be good to read more.]
    What does this mean? A link trio? Everyone will do it?
    So she will tell us in detail what should be done instead? Oh, the irony ...
    Nowt wrong with that at all.
    ... or they won't be allowed to move up? Or they will spend the whole summer after Y6 doing maths? Or zere teacher vill be shot?
    Interesting times ahead! Oh - and no money to help do it with, either ...
  3. DM

    DM New commenter

    I think you may need to wait a while.
    At present, the Linked Pair comes to an end after two years. Now it will be rolled out.
    Dunne's methods are guaranteed to succeed. Have you forgotten Kids Don't Count already?
  4. So is this the group who are to decide how and what maths is taught? What input do our mathematics education societies have? What have they had to say so far?
  5. DM

    DM New commenter

    I will pm you.
  6. I think this MP will also be involved - she's certainly interested in the examinations side of things if you ask me.
  7. DM

    DM New commenter

    I have no idea why she visited you Kev but she is not on the Taskforce. I named all the people on it, they each have a researcher too but I didn't think anyone would be interested in that.
  8. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    'She will assess teaching methods in England, how to tackle the "fear" of maths'
    Back in Feb 09
    What qualifies her to do this?
    'There is some surprise that Ms Vorderman is fronting the Tory maths review, because she took part in one the (Labour) government commissioned, which reported less than a year ago, and endorsed its recommendations - which are now being implemented.

    She worries me remember hearing her talking (with great authority) a lot of rubbish about Maths lessons on woman's hour a few months ago.

    Roger Porkess will have his work cut out!

  9. DM

    DM New commenter

    Roger was initially suspicious too but Carol has won him over. He is on record as saying "Countdown does not do justice to how passionate Carol is about mathematics. She has been a school governor, has written many textbooks and knows a great deal about the subject". He also says his Taskforce work is "perhaps the best thing" he has done.
  10. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Maybe the future is not so bleak then DM.
  11. DM

    DM New commenter

    Possibly not. She could have come up with all sorts of wierd and wacky ideas. These proposals are not unreasonable are they? I'm dreading teaching mathematics to 18 year olds who have been forced to attend school against their will though!
  12. DM

    DM New commenter

  13. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Yeah, the maths up to 18 is worrying, I wonder what they will decide they should be taught and of course where the staff will come from!
  14. DM

    DM New commenter

    Here's a transcript of Carol's speech to the 2010 ACME Conference:
    <font size="3" face="Centaur">I speak as a passionate believer in the critical importance of maths, not only in formal education in schools, and obviously also at university level, but also in a continuing way for adults and the question which is posed today is are we meeting mathematical needs? I think to some degree we are, particularly with the fantastic A-level results which John and many others have talked about, which caters really, at the moment, for about the top 10% I think somebody here will tell me is actually 9.8% Carol, but it&rsquo;s something like that, who actually took A-level Maths and Further Maths. Hopefully that will expand to a higher percentage. That&rsquo;s one of the categories and I think that we are meeting that and we are meeting it quite brilliantly and now those who are going on to study maths at university by and large, all but a few have a Further Maths A-level which is a fantastic achievement in a very short space of time. </font>
    <font size="3" face="Centaur">However there are three other groups and I think we must address these through ACME and through all the course of your conversations today. Particularly one which is the 20% of 11 year olds who are basically thrown on the scrap heap at the age of 11 and SATS which I declare now, I don&rsquo;t like at all, the SATS declare that if they are not achieving Level 4 by the age of 11 only 10% of them will go on to get a GCSE Maths, we know how important it is to get a GCSE in Maths because you can't go to university without it and now we know that you can't go on to train for all sorts of other jobs without it. It&rsquo;s not right, those 1 in 5 tend to be from certain areas and I declare myself now as a child who had free school meals, so it is something that I believe deeply needs to be resolved. </font>
    <font size="3" face="Centaur"><font size="3" face="Centaur">The third area who need addressing are the other, and excuse my maths here, don&rsquo;t, 60-70%, depending on how many are going to go on to do A-level who basically need maths and they have told me, you know for 30 years, although I am lying now about my age Ben, I will say it&rsquo;s about 2 years I spent on Countdown, but 30 years on Countdown, all my adult life people have come up and talked to me about numbers. I know you might say it&rsquo;s merely anecdotal but I think I have probably had almost a million comments from people over those years and generally it tends to be those who need practical maths, number work, arithmetic work and they feel that they haven't got that grounding, particularly people in the media funnily enough, who&hellip;.the first thing you will have said to you if you ever go on to the interviewed about maths is &ndash; I don&rsquo;t like maths. That&rsquo;s from most journalists and presenters, will say that. I was in a very fortunate position to be seen as a numbers freak and therefore being asked to talk about maths quite a lot. So that&rsquo;s the third area and there is a terribly important area as well which are the people who have left formal education, the adults. You know now we are given more data than ever before, and even though many say, well you don&rsquo;t need to be able to calculate because calculators can do it, that is simply not the case, and I know Richard from the CBI will agree with that, that those in jobs are asked to analyse more data they are given spreadsheets of data, and by and large they hold up their hands in horror. Now with this Chairing the Task Force and we will be delivering an interim report and thanks to everybody here who has been very generous with their time and consultation and supported hopefully the delivery of this interim report which will have some very decent proposals for the overriding subject of mathematics and how it should be delivered, you know we have this data&hellip;..on my travels and meeting and chatting to, well thousands of young people, obviously primary age and secondary, but most particularly in the post-16 age group and I deliberately didn&rsquo;t go and talk to those who are doing A-levels, I know many who are doing A-levels, I wanted to talk to those who have got the grade B, C or D who were going on to do other kinds of work other than academic and they might be in FE colleges particularly and doing all sorts of different things where they need some maths, they all need some maths, and some of them ended up crying, they said &ndash; we never knew Carol, we never knew how much we would need the maths and also many, and it is a great concern and I know it&rsquo;s a great concern to you, that many of them in the lower sector and in the lower years in secondary, of necessity because there is a shortage of secondary school maths teachers, are being taught by non-specialist teachers and I think that in CPD there is an area, particularly for years 7, 8 and 9 where, you know, teachers go into teaching because they want to teach, because they love teaching kids and they love the kids, and that those people should be helped to enable them to become better maths teachers who can deliver certain parts of the curriculum and certain parts of it very well to those groups of children in the lower sets and the lower years. They don&rsquo;t have to have maths degrees, I don&rsquo;t believe, in order to be able to do that because it&rsquo;s about their communication skills as much as anything else.</font></font>
    <font size="3" face="Centaur"><font size="3" face="Centaur"><font size="3" face="Centaur">So you know I think there are all sorts of different ways of doing this and very practical ways of doing it rather than kind of saying you have to have this and then everybody has to be the same.</font></font></font>
    <font size="3" face="Centaur"><font size="3" face="Centaur"><font size="3" face="Centaur">Anyway, I love maths, that&rsquo;s my final point.</font></font></font>
  15. DM

    DM New commenter

    Some of that reads a bit like she had a glass in her hand at the time!
  16. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    and the rest of it is incoherent drival lol
  17. She still hasn't got round to seeing us as far as I know! Yes, she's not on the taskforce but I expect she will be getting involved somehere - as we know, the coalition's politicians don't 'meddle in the curriculum'. This letter from Nick Gibb to ACME mentions her as having concerns about the new GCSE specifications. We're not sure what these concerns are, but we have spoken to her researcher to let him know that modular GCSEs and A Levels were not invented recently by Ed Balls and have in fact been around a while. So I think she might be getting on the 'maths-qualifications-dumbed-down-modules-bad' bandwagon but I'm not sure where it's heading.
    Roger being on the taskforce is excelllent news. As you know, he recently retired from MEI so it is great that he can get involved in the curriculum this way - he talks a heck of a lot of sense.
  18. DM

    DM New commenter

    She visited Cambridge Assessment in September. I've never been sure what the distinction is between CA and OCR - perhaps you could explain it?
  19. OCR + CIE + ESOL = Cambridge Assessment
    Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, est. 1858) and as well as being the umbrella of the three exam boards above it also includes Assessment Research, the Assessment Network and some University Admissions Tests such as STEP.

    I think she did intend to meet our maths team manager in September but as far as I know it never happened. I suppose she could have seen CIE to talk about IGCSE and Pre-U but it seems unlikely as she appears to be more concerned about modular schemes (*hunch*).
  20. A colleague of mine worked with Roger on the Hodder Formula One Maths books just after the National Numeracy Strategy came out for secondaries. He says that Roger is a perfect gent and does talk a lot of sense. My colleague also mentioned that of the dozen authors on that textbook, only two had any experience of teaching in state schools and having seen the books, it showed. I'm still a bit concerned that all of those involved in this don't seem to have any recent experience of what it's like teaching difficult classes in tough schools.

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