Maths: finding the fix to our problems
We are not good at Maths in this country.
In the latest PISA results (2012), England ranked 24th in the maths tables. This equates to a three year achievement lag between the performance of our 15 year olds and those at the top of the performance table - in Shanghai.
But if you look at the performance of our 16-19 year olds, the picture is even worse. The latest figures from the OECD indicate that we are second to last in numeracy.
Ministers are keen to compare our students' performance with the best in the world, so it's easy to see why schools minister, Nick Gibb MP, is attaching such importance to maths teaching.
Gibb looks to the east for inspiration. Specifically, 'Maths Teaching for Mastery', as practised in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea.
You can read Nick Gibb MP's full speech on the Government's maths reforms here, which he delivered on 27th March 2015,
"It delivers a meticulous approach to arithmetic, whole class teaching and focused 35 minute lessons. Frequent practice allows pupils to consolidate their understanding, and pupils are assisted through immediate and tailored in-class questioning and scaffolding techniques. Homework is frequent and simply and quickly marked."by Nick Gibb
So how do teachers find out more about this?
Gibb references Professor Dan Willingham's 2009 book Why don't students like school?
In it, Willingham explains how teaching can be better tailored to pupils' learning habits by changing schooling into an activity rather than a chore.
Since 2014, Maths Hubs in England have been trialing Singapore textbooks. These provide a coherent, structured programme, designed to benefit pupils, teachers and parents.
You can also visit the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics for more information, which provides a number of case studies dedicated to unpicking teaching for mastery.