Numeracy improves in primary schools

Engage News

Scotland’s primary classes, implementing Curriculum for Excellence, are achieving and sustaining high performance in numeracy skills while more focussed action will be taken in secondary classes to raise standards, Education Secretary Michael Russell said today.

The findings were published today as part of the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN ), the first ever national survey of primary and secondary pupils’ numeracy skills.

Speaking from Stenhouse Primary School in Edinburgh today, Mr Russell said:

“Given that we have deliberately raised the bar with Curriculum for Excellence – with high standards expected at each level, the strong performance of primary pupils in maths and numeracy is hugely encouraging. It provides a clear picture that, alongside Scotland’s teachers’ unwavering commitment, learning and teaching under Curriculum for Excellence is improving life chances for our children and young people.

“A common and historic trend is for performance to dip between mid and upper primary and then dip again in early secondary. So it is particularly welcoming to see the high performance in P4 maintained through to P7 under Curriculum for Excellence.

“However, this high performance must also be sustained and improved through to secondary. The performance results taken from S2, who were the last cohort of pupils not to benefit from Curriculum for Excellence, shows that more is needed and the link between deprivation and attainment remains too strong.

“For the first time we have a detailed picture of numeracy across Scotland which enables us to focus in on the areas most needing support in pre-CfE secondary learning such as fractions.

“Education Scotland will today release the first in a series of teaching support materials designed to tackle these areas. Particular support for secondaries, in addition to the numeracy materials and networks already available, will also be put in place to drive improvement.

“We knew that more could be done to improve literacy and numeracy and raise attainment. This is why we introduced a new curriculum which is now paying off. This Government is committed to doing all we can to support our hugely talented and committed teachers as well as our tens of thousands of children and young people eager to learn.”

Marlene Galashen, Head Teacher of Stenhouse Primary School, said:

“At Stenhouse, teachers are aware that a crucial aspect of their work is to enthuse pupils as they develop fundamental numeracy skills, and learn how to apply their knowledge in everyday life, learning and work.

“As a result of the emphasis which Curriculum for Excellence has placed on numeracy, Stenhouse pupils experience an increased amount of time spent on number and mental maths and more opportunities to talk about their work, Where appropriate, the link between numeracy and other curricular areas is identified and taught within the selected context, enhancing enjoyment of learning about numbers.”

Related articles:
Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy – sample questions

To coincide with the publication of the report, Education Scotland has provided a range of support materials to help teachers develop the numeracy skills of their pupils. These support materials are available on the Education Scotland website.

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  • AnActualTeacher

    Seems both literacy and numeracy were a problem for the AQU as they did not READ Engage's Code of Conduct or COUNT the frequency of their pasted comment: "we don’t allow the submission of the same or very similar contributions many times"

    Surely swamping comment with repeated blanket statements goes against the spirit of the website?

  • Assessment and Quali

    Literacy and numeracy skills are critical for learners to progress which is why they are placed at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence and promoted across all areas of learning.

    The Donaldson report, "Teaching Scotland's Future" identified the fact that a small number of initial teacher education students have weaknesses in literacy and numeracy. An ‘Early Phase’ Sub-group of the National Partnership Group is currently considering how best this can be addressed.

    All schools will have strategies in place to ensure that their young people have opportunities to develop their numeracy skills across the curriculum, and teachers will have a common understanding of how their pupils progress in numeracy. Any concerns around teaching provision should be raised with your school who will be able to discuss their strategy.

  • sawney hasbeen

    This seems a very early conclusion!

  • BillBrady

    All very nice but why am I spending thousands a year on maths tuition as a direct result of crap math teachers both at Primary and High School.