Numeracy plan to boost pupils' maths skills in Wales

Poor results which showed pupils in Wales falling behind other countries have led to the launch of a national numeracy programme.

Education Minister Leighton Andrews says he wants to change the view that being poor with numbers is acceptable.

Numeracy tests will be held in classes from Years 2 to 9.

Results showed pupils in Wales are the equivalent of half an academic year behind others for mathematical literacy.

The National Numeracy Programme (NPP) was launched on Wednesday by the minister at Ynystawe Primary School in Swansea and comes after a national literacy plan was unveiled in May.

It has been developed after the Welsh government consulted with local and international academics specialising in numeracy as well as school improvement.

They were called in as the last Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests three years ago showed Wales was below average for reading and maths, and average for science among 15-year-olds out of 65 countries.

The NNP said that while GCSE results showed children in Wales were progressing, those in England were improving faster.

'Skills they need'

"Nothing is more important than ensuring all of our young people have the skills they need to succeed in school and the world of work," said Mr Andrews.

The report explains that adults with numeracy skills equivalent to that of a Year 9 pupil, aged 13-14, earn 26% more than those without.

The NNP says more training will be provided for newly qualified teachers, including a new course, a Masters in Educational Practice.

The programme drawn up for the Welsh government will be used by local authorities, headteachers and school governors.

The NNP says it will focus on four key areas:

  • Enhancing numeracy across the curriculum
  • Advancing teaching practice in numeracy
  • Supporting learners quickly and successfully
  • Communicating the power of numeracy.

It said: "We believe that these themes will collaboratively impact and raise numeracy standards.

"We need to ensure that we have a world-class curriculum, with highly skilled teaching staff, and a range of interventions specifically designed to ensure that all learners reach their potential."

The plan is to introduce the changes starting from next year with the aim to improve teaching standards and results and to identify more quickly children needing help to catch up.

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