Main Page Summary of recommendations

The Task Force's final report gives a practical agenda for action to implement the National Numeracy Strategy, based on the wide support for the proposals in our preliminary report, Numeracy Matters, and taking into account the comments and concerns passed on to us during consultation. We have sought to make proposals that achieve good value for money within the funding likely to be available. We have focused in particular on the need to build up teachers' confidence and competence as quickly as possible at the beginning of the strategy. Our recommended strategy provides training and support for all teachers, to bring about changes in the teaching of mathematics in primary, middle and special school classrooms, reflecting the good practice identified in our preliminary report. The proposals and support build in particular on the National Numeracy Project (NNP).

The principles on which our report is based are set out in chapter 1, and recommendations set out in full at the end of each chapter. Our key recommendations are as follows:

1 From the autumn term 1999, all primary and special schools should teach a daily mathematics lesson to all pupils, lasting between 45 and 60 minutes depending on pupils ages. Teachers should teach the whole class together for a high proportion of the lesson, and oral and mental work should feature strongly in each lesson.
2 LEAs should be funded to recruit numeracy consultants to support schools, and be given an early indication of how many are likely to be funded, so that they can recruit in the autumn term 1998 to begin work on 1 April 1999. The DfEE should also support the strategy with a national and regional infrastructure similar to that for the National Literacy Strategy.
3 The Framework for teaching mathematics, Reception to Year 6, to be referred to later in this report as either the Framework for teaching or simply the Framework , developed and used in the NNP, should be sent to all primary, special and secondary schools, LEAs and initial teacher training providers early in the spring term 1999. All primary and special schools should review their current practice and consider to what extent the teaching practices we recommend for the National Numeracy Strategy, and the Framework for teaching itself, suggest a need for change in their own school. The school s decision about the scale of change should be made in consultation with the LEA and the appropriate Regional Director for the strategy.
4 Particularly in the early stages of the strategy, consultants should be supplemented in giving demonstration lessons by skilled local teachers, whom we have termed leading mathematics teachers . Both consultants and leading mathematics teachers should have training before fulfilling their roles.
5 All primary and special school teachers should have an opportunity, early in the autumn term 1999, to observe successful teaching of the daily mathematics lesson at least once using the strategy we have recommended. Demonstration lessons should be provided either by LEA numeracy consultants, local teachers identified as leading mathematics teachers , or by good quality video material, showing relevant lessons, sent to all schools.
6 The available funding should be targeted mainly at providing training for teachers, including up to 5 days of release time for all primary and special schools, to allow teachers to watch demonstration lessons, and for the mathematics co-ordinator and the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) to work with colleagues.
7 The headteacher, mathematics co-ordinator, and one other teacher (preferably the SENCO) from every primary and special school should attend an initial 3 day training conference in the summer term 1999, with a governor attending for the third day.
8 Every primary and special school should devote an INSET day in the summer term 1999, after the conference, to whole school training to prepare for planning and teaching the daily mathematics lesson. This should be followed up by two further INSET days, in the autumn term 1999 and spring term 2000. All the INSET should be supported by national training materials, especially high quality video of appropriate teaching methods. In the longer term, the DfEE should ensure attention to teachers continuing professional development needs, especially in subject knowledge.
9 Schools identified by their LEA as needing intensive support - around 10 to 15 per cent of all primary and special schools in the first year of the strategy -should send the mathematics co-ordinator and one other teacher on a five day course, and receive up to six days of direct support from the local numeracy consultant. An additional 45% of schools should receive around 2 days of direct support from the consultant in the first year. Overall, intensive support should be given to up to around 60% of all schools in the course of the strategy. Intensive support should be available for up to 10% of all schools for two or even three years, if they are in particular need of it.
10 LEAs should agree numeracy targets for 2002 with the DfEE, and negotiate and agree targets for 2002 with their primary and special schools. They should identify someone with the management experience and mathematical skills to provide supportive line management and help with training for the LEA s numeracy consultants.
11 Special schools with pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2 should play a full part in the National Numeracy Strategy, adapting the structure of the daily lesson where necessary to take account of the particular needs of their pupils, and with supplementary training for teachers as needed.
12 Training and other guidance sent to all schools should take into account the need to help teachers teach the daily lesson with a high proportion of children with special educational needs (SEN) in their classrooms, with pupils who are exceptionally able, and in very small schools - all of these are circumstances in which the range of achievement is likely to be larger than average.
13 Teachers should provide regular mathematical activities and exercises for pupils to do at home, to extend their learning time for mathematics.
14 The TTA and DfEE should hold conferences to familiarise providers of INSET and ITT with the strategy, and consider its implications for trainee and serving teachers.
15 Q C As review of the National Curriculum should ensure that the Key Stage 1 and 2 mathematics curriculum has a greater emphasis on oral and mental calculation, and makes clear when formal written calculation methods are to be introduced, once these foundations are secure.
16 Calculators are best used in primary schools in the later years of Key Stage 2, and should not be used as a prop for simple arithmetic. Teachers should teach pupils how to use them constructively and efficiently. QCAs forthcoming guidance on mental calculation will help teachers to do this, and should complement the Framework for teaching.
17 Schools should involve classroom assistants, and other adult helpers, fully in the preparation for and implementation of the strategy. The DfEE should consider the scope for incorporating support for specialist teaching assistant (STA) training in at least the second year of the strategy.
18 The DfEE should invite bids from LEAs for pilot projects to support the development of numeracy skills at Key Stage 3.
19 Secondary heads of mathematics and teachers with responsibility for primary liaison should attend conferences about the strategy in the summer term 2000, to prepare for the first intake of 11 year olds to have experienced the National Numeracy Strategy.
20 The DfEE should begin planning in autumn 1998 for an educational slant to the UNESCO-led World Mathematical Year 2000, also with the aim of raising general public interest in mathematics.
21 Primary and special schools should set in hand arrangements to inform parents about the school s own approach to teaching mathematics and how the parents can help children to develop numeracy skills at home.
22 OFSTED should train its inspectors in the National Numeracy Strategy, and evaluate the effects of the strategy in a significant sample of schools.
23 TTA should ensure that its national professional standards for teachers and headteachers take into account their respective roles in supporting the numeracy strategy. It should also consider how best to use the World Mathematical Year 2000 to reinforce recruitment strategies for mathematics teachers.
24 The Basic Skills Agency should extend and develop its Family Numeracy pilot programme, taking into account in particular the need to ensure best value for money, and to link the activities closely to children s progress at school.