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FURIOUS with Gove's maths comments

(278 Posts)
BusterGut Wed 29-Jun-11 19:38:44

angry angry angry

The man is a total twat.
He is so out of touch, he must be living on Mars.

Bloody 'pre-algebra' - that's missing no. sums in Y2.
Bloody 'maths every day' - who doesn't?
Bloody teaching maths till 18 ????????? shock (Pity the sec sch maths teachers)

(I've written to the slimy little toad. Anyone else going to join me?

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 19:46:00

Here's the BBC article about what he said - it was a speech to the RS (I'll see if I can find a transcript).

Calculus does seem to have a reduced part in the curriculum. It was an O level topic in my day.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 19:51:09

Transcript here.

He doesn't seem to be saying anything new - it's the curriculum reform again.

OiYouThere Wed 29-Jun-11 19:53:06

Buster - I like maths. I find i exciting and endlessly interesting, so I may have a skewed view! grin But it sounds ok. What parts do you think will have a negative impact?

But then I also think PE, English, science and finance should be compulsory, so I am a bit odd!! smile

TheCrackFox Wed 29-Jun-11 19:55:19

He wants Maths to be complusory until 18. Slightly pointless.

I distinctly remember telling my Maths teacher that there was no point leanring Calculus as I would never use it. I am kicking the arse of 40 and have never needed to know calculus.

He is a twat.

BusterGut Wed 29-Jun-11 20:07:21

This is what made me mad:
'It may be, therefore, that we should adopt the same approach and perhaps we should have more emphasis on pre-algebra in primary and remove data handling and some other subjects from the primary curriculum.

'We should also bear in mind that in Shanghai, they have daily maths lessons and regular tests to make sure that all children are learning the basics.'

Under the National Strategies programme introduced to primaries by Labour in a bid to boost standards in English and maths, schools used to have a daily numeracy hour. The programme was dropped by Labour two years ago.

1. Pre-algebra - we do missing no. sums and balancing sums in Y2!
2. Data handling is a vital part of the numeracy curriculum (more than learning what a tetrahedron is). It is an analytical tool.
3. I expect nearly every primary school in the country does maths every day for an hour, with regular testing (mental and written)
4. Most schools will be following either the old strategy or framework.

The man is so uninformed.

How does all this square up with the free curricula of academies and free schools.

I did modern maths in the 70s and have survived until now without knowing calculus - I even managed physics A level without it. I just memorised the patterns.

kat2504 Thu 30-Jun-11 10:54:19

He is a moron. Has he ever been in a school recently?
Children do have daily maths lessons in primary school. And almost every day in secondary school. Just because the numeracy hour might have been dropped, does not mean maths is not taught! They still have the curriculum to get through and the pressure of year 6 SATs. I also imagine that they have continued with the numeracy hour regardless. I imagine they did this before the numeracy hour was even introduced. I imagine that regular tests are widespread, and not just a feature of schools that I have worked in.

Data handling is possibly more important than pre-algebra in my opinion. Most of us have to deal with data in our normal lives. Not saying "pre-algebra" isn't important, just that data handling is an essential skill.

Maths to 18? I consider myself well-educated and have 3 A levels, a good degree and a professional qualification. I couldn't hack A level maths, I had to give it up after AS level as it was too hard for me! Just the same as some people on my course decided German A Level was not for them, even though they did well at GCSE. What does he propose that all these 16-18 year olds study in their maths lessons if they are not the most able in that subject?

Why not English to 18? Why has he decided to pick on the poor maths teachers and inflict year 12 bottom set on them? Why not French, as we are in a global society etc? (please no!! I am a French teacher and a class of reluctant sixth formers is not what I would like).

Complete twat. Has he ever said anything intelligent?

niceguy2 Thu 30-Jun-11 15:49:51

I fail to understand why his comments make him a twat?

The simple fact is that the UK is indeed lagging behind our competitors. You go to an average school in South Korea or China and I guarantee you that they are 2 years ahead in maths. The maths that their kids are doing make ours look like dunces in comparison.

And that is the reality. And why is there such a difference? Because the governments over there want more graduates with useful degrees like Chemistry, Biology, Engineers etc. So they can compete with us. All subjects where an advanced grasp of mathematics is key. And you know what? They're kicking our arses economically.

So not sure how realistic the comments from Gove are in practice but I sure as hell agree with the sentiment.

LilyBolero Thu 30-Jun-11 15:56:22

I disagree with most of what Michael Gove says! grin

I think there could be benefits in teaching some sort of numerical based subject up to 18 - but not maths as such, and certainly not A Level Maths!

Things that would be useful to teach imo are;
Estimation - really useful practical skill for every day life - eg doing shopping, making an estimate of how much your shopping will cost, so that check-out mistakes are picked up
Statistics - understanding the fundamentals, and also how they are manuipulated by the media, so that when you read a headline that talks about 'trebling your chance of getting cancer' for example, you understand that it is really only a very tiny increase of risk, from a 0.01% chance to a 0.03%.
Probability - tying in with the stats - so that risk is understood a bit better. You see it all the time on here - "I wouldn't leave my child in the car at a petrol station, what if there were an armed robbery..." - which might have a probability of 0.0001% compared to the 1% chance (or whatever) of having a crash whilst driving in the car.

I would call it 'Maths for Life'.

hockeyforjockeys Thu 30-Jun-11 17:33:05

God he shows how little he understands about education in this country. I have yet come across a primary school that doesn't teach an hour of maths everday. Lots of people stuggle with numbers, forcing them to do ALevel won't help. However I am not against the idea of introducing a post-GCSE qualification for those who have struggled and need more time and support to gain a solid grounding. However it is a big ask for those already doing 3 or 4 Alevels in arts subjects to add on an extra subject, particularly if they don't excel in it.

The idea of competing with the far-east. Interestingly I read an article (and I can't remember where!) that said what we in the west need to be doing more of is preparing people to work in the creative industries. It is a huge area that continues to grow, and also one that far-east countries aren't strong in due to their educational focus.

MichaelaS Thu 30-Jun-11 18:06:14

No idea how well informed or otherwise this guy is, but I would love to see more maths taught and for longer - I work in finance and we can't find people to fill £50k+ jobs because the level of maths understanding in this country is terrible. So a lot of our roles are filled by "skilled migrant" visa people coming from countries where they DO have decent maths understanding.

Love the idea of "maths for life" - I find it completely shocking that a decent proportion of our population can't understand compound interest rates, or even whether a credit card interest rate is better or worse than an overdraft interest rate.

Not the fault of the teachers I guess though. We just seem to have this culture where maths is not considered useful or interesting. Really sad. Calculus might not be useful to everybody's future life but compound interest, making risk assessments from relative probabilities, and budgetting definitely are!

hockeyforjockeys Thu 30-Jun-11 18:18:52

I agree Michaela about how maths is valued. People are embarrased by not being able to read or write, the same can't be said about not being numerate. I have seen countless examples of people (and I hate to say it but mainly women) who just smile and say 'oh I'm not very good' when faced with numerical situations.

juuule Thu 30-Jun-11 21:30:42

"However I am not against the idea of introducing a post-GCSE qualification for those who have struggled and need more time and support to gain a solid grounding."

Do you mean like the Skills for Life qualifications. These can be done alongside other subjects at colleges.

moondog Thu 30-Jun-11 21:36:46

God he shows how little he understands about education in this country. I have yet come across a primary school that doesn't teach an hour of maths everday. Lots of people stuggle with numbers, forcing them to do ALevel won't help.

Who says he is saying that? hmm

In a country where peopel are generally embarassingly shite at maths, it needs to be made a priority. If peopel haven't got basic concepts, then they need to keep on working on it until they do.

I love Michael Gove. He is a shining beacon of sanity and the idiocy of comments like your Hockey only reinforces my admiration for him.

hockeyforjockeys Thu 30-Jun-11 21:42:15

You are perfectly entitled to your views. However I am one of the people who slog day after day with my hourly maths lesson with the bottom set. Are you?

Callisto Thu 30-Jun-11 21:49:14

I think the main thing is that, as a country, we are not even close to competing with most of Europe, let alone China etc, in subjects like maths and science. I fail to see why Gove is a twat because he wants to address this and ensure that children in the UK will be able to compete with the rest of the world.

It is extraordinary the rabid hatred of anything Tory on this forum. If it was some Labour politician saying these things you'd all be agreeing and saying why the fuck arn't the Tories doing something about it.

And maths isn't taught every day at my DD's primary, and I dare say it isn't the only one.

hockeyforjockeys Thu 30-Jun-11 21:53:46

Actually moondog I don't understand what part you think is idiocy. This is the direct quote from Goves' speech:
'We should also bear in mind that in Shanghai, they have daily maths lessons and regular tests to make sure that all children are learning the basics.'

The logical conclusion from this statement is that we don't but we should

'we should set a new goal for the education system so that within a decade the vast majority of pupils are studying maths right through to the age of 18.'

Education of some sort is compulsary until 18. As far as I am aware the only options in maths post 16 currently are As/ALevels or the basic skills courses juules has linked to. Please correct me if I'm wrong. This would imply that unless a new qualification is set up, all those in academic study would have to do AS/A Levels.

hockeyforjockeys Thu 30-Jun-11 21:56:50

Callisto because of the pressure of SATs I can't imagine a school without daily maths lessons. As I said, I have not come across any that don't, and I think it should continue that way.

Feenie Thu 30-Jun-11 22:00:43

It annoyed me too. Along with his previous comments about primary schools not teaching 3D shape a while back. Why doesn't he know about the maths curriculum?

Callisto Thu 30-Jun-11 22:08:55

Well then there are serious failings in the way maths is taught then. Either way we need to do something about it. Yet more graduates to work in the creative industries is not what this country needs. We need scientists and engineers. Gove is absolutely right to highlight this.

mercibucket Thu 30-Jun-11 22:15:24

finally - something I can agree with Gove on. mind you, if he wants more scientist and engineers it's going to take a lot more than that - maybe some decent salaries for a start. and where he plans on finding all the teachers I'd also like to know. perhaps entice them with a good pension package? oh hang on . . .
maths for everyone up to 18 is not going to work fantastically well unless it's graded though - some people aren't going to be maths geniuses no matter how many hours of maths they do

LegoStuckinMyhoover Thu 30-Jun-11 22:23:21

Yes, maths is taught everyday. There will be and needs to be changes to the maths strategy. However, I do not think he is barking up the right tree here.

I guess, he isnt going to attract overly well qualified mathematicians into schools whilst he is busy cutting teachers pay though. I am sure they could earn more and get a better pension in the private sector in business etc. I understand that in countries where education is doing very well, teachers are paid very well and respected and are given more time to prepare lessons etc. Unlike in this country.

I also understand that China has a huge suicide problem with their youth, due to the pressure they face at school.

Lastly, it is news to me that children learn by being tested. I thought a test was a test and a lesson is where you learn.

As an aside, what is it with conservatives and their hair lately? They all have the same style, being slightly swept over with an application of brylcreem. Or is it slime? grin

radiohelen Thu 30-Jun-11 22:41:44

I don't know what Gove does or doesn't know about the maths curriculum. I do know that when I was a kid in Hong Kong I regularly got my arse handed to me on a plate in Maths by my Chinese friends. They were soooo much better than us kids in the Forces school being taught the standard English way.
We have to be able to do better and it has to be the way it is taught. If we want a growing economy we need people who are really good at maths. Otherwise the science, discovery, invention, it all goes down the pan and we should resign ourselves to being hosts in a glorified historical theme park.
If Gove is wrong for trying to do something about that, or even point out that it's a problem, then drag him naked through the streets on a litter by all means.
I think life looks a lot simpler when you've got a goldplated pension and sod all chance of being sacked from work! Teachers should be careful what they wish for....

BusterGut Thu 30-Jun-11 22:47:57

Of course I agree that maths should be taught every day - I do just that. No-one is disputing the importance of maths (well, useful maths, anyway).

The point that I was making is that Gove seems to be completely uninformed about what is going on in schools. This is incredibly worrying, as he happens to be the Minister of State for Education.

He makes random comments, many of them contradictory, many of which are moulded to please the readers of the popular tory rags. He is fuelling the public's opinion that standards are low in state schools, and that the 3Rs are neither taught properly nor regularly.

I worry about the agenda of a politician who (as representative of teachers in the cabinet and as the chief-poncho legislator for imminent changes) consistently makes naive and untrue comments about education in primary schools.

I think I lost all respect when his comments about poor reading were accompanied by a publicity picture of him 'enjoying' a SATs comprehension booklet with 2 children. A SATs comprehension book fgs! Ridiculous!

BusterGut Thu 30-Jun-11 22:50:44

Radiohelen 'I think life looks a lot simpler when you've got a goldplated pension and sod all chance of being sacked from work! Teachers should be careful what they wish for....'


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