Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced the south Asian method of teaching maths will be rolled out in over 8,000 primary schools in England.
Half of the total number of primary schools in England will receive £41m over the course of four years to adopt the approach used by some of the leading performers in maths worldwide, including Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The funding will also be allocated to the initial training of 700 teachers to support schools in maths mastery, as well as for textbooks. The expansion will be led by maths hubs – 35 school-led centres of excellence in maths teaching.
The Government said the approach is “marked by careful planning, ensuring no pupil’s understanding is left to chance”.
The Maths mastery method began being used in England in 2014 and so far 140 teachers have been trained by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).
The Department for Education commissioned Sheffield Hallam University to conduct an evaluation of the first year of piloting the Shanghai exchange scheme. it found that the visits of English teachers in Shanghai had a strong impact on teachers’ beliefs and motivations towards teaching maths. Across all 48 schools evaluated, most teachers reported that the changes implemented since the visit had led to positive outcomes for children.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:
“We are seeing a renaissance in maths teaching in this country, with good ideas from around the world helping to enliven our classrooms.
“The significant expansion of the south Asian maths mastery approach can only add to the positive momentum, with thousands more young people having access to specialist teachers and quality textbooks.
“I am confident that the steps we are taking now will ensure young people are properly prepared for further study and the 21st century workplace, and that the too-often heard phrase ‘can’t do maths’ is consigned to the past.”
But Schools Week reported that concerns have been put forward by unions and teachers about the feasibility of securing the extra planning time which features in the Shanghai school system to ensure its success.
Nick Gibb said teachers in England could not share the luxury of low lesson loads and long planning time because it was one of the many “cultural differences” compared with south Asia. He added that schools “can learn” from what happens in Shanghai classrooms and will have to “adapt to our own situation” with the help of resources available.
Department for Education press release
Schools minister admits Shanghai maths teachers only do ‘two lessons a day’ (Schools Week)
Asian maths method also needs to provide time to plan and prepare (NAHT Edge)
Asian maths method offered to schools (BBC)