Wales politics

Maths hubs in schools and centre of excellence urged by task force

School in Caerphilly
Image caption This school in Caerphilly puts children into maths sets, depending on ability

A centre of excellence for maths and hubs in schools to promote the best ways of teaching the subject have been recommended by a task force.

The education minister asked for an action plan earlier this year to tackle the weakest of the core subjects taught in schools in Wales.

Huw Lewis said performance has improved but there is "more still to do".

The group has made 14 recommendations, including addressing problems in recruiting maths teachers.

The independent task force was set up in January, as maths teachers from across the country were brought together for a summit. Mr Lewis said Wales needed to "raise its game".

For those who took maths GCSE in June, just 47.5% of pupils managed a grade of A*-C, - another drop compared with 50.6% last year and 52.8% in 2013.

But when the results of students who took the exam early are taken into account, they show an overall improvement of 2.7% on 2014.

'Myth'

Mr Lewis said this figure of 64.4% getting A*-C in maths was the best performance to date and he was "keen to build on our success".

"I can absolutely see the value of a centre of excellence for maths, particularly in supporting school-to-school working and peer support," he added.

The minister said he was happy to accept all the 14 recommendations.

Task force chairman Michael Griffiths said the hubs would be based at schools "which have a record of developing excellence in mathematics teaching".

They will be set up as part of the work at pioneer schools, which are developing the new curriculum in Wales over the next few years.

Mr Griffiths, former head of Cardiff High School and now an education consultant, said: "We have come to the conclusion that the often heard quote 'I'm just no good at maths' is a myth.

"This belief is often a feature of western culture, whereas in countries that perform best in international tests, for example some countries in the Far East, inborn talent is considered less important than hard work, persistence, resilience, good teaching and self confidence."

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