Replace homework with extra maths lessons in schools

Jan 5, 2014 by

Time-wasting lessons scrapped and homework replaced with time in class

Homework should be replaced with extra maths lessons in schools to stop British children falling behind, an education minister said today.

Elizabeth Truss said getting a good job in the UK is wrongly viewed ‘like getting into a nightclub with a strict door policy one-in and one-out’, insisting all 18-year-old should be studying maths.

In a speech she said schools in England should copy China by scrapping time-wasting lessons, raising the standards of teaching and focussing on proper long division.

Addressing the Oxford Conference in Education, the minister said Britain’s schools must be ambitious for all pupils not just a ‘talented few’ and aim to overtake Germany and Poland in league tables.

She said education standards should aim to match the record of high-achieving Asian cities such as Shanghai. ‘If we get education right, we have the economic conditions for a boom in social mobility – a vast increase in the number of high-end jobs. And a greater future for all of us’, she said.

Miss Truss highlighted how the government has sent 50 head teachers and heads of maths and science to Shanghai and Ningbo in China to learn how the subjects were taught there.

‘Our ambition must be to out-educate the rest of the world’, she said. ‘Until we agree that doing well is an unequivocally good thing, and that it is attainable by all, we will continue to waste talent.’

Changes include schools imposing in after-school maths lessons to replace homework, while also using ‘spare’ time during the school day for extra maths classes.


The curriculum has been focused on the basics in primary school, including on times tables and using decimal numbers.

There is also more emphasis on the use of traditional long division method and ‘mental maths’.

Parents are also told to take more interest in their children’s progress in maths, with parent evenings to ‘persuade them of the critical role they play in raising standards’.

Headteachers and maths teachers have been sent to China by the UK government to see how they teach maths to a higher standard


Miss Truss said ‘We should find it unacceptable to say maths is just for a talented few.

‘We should also jettison the limiting belief that there is a fixed number of good jobs. That even if we could improve education for all, there would not be any extra jobs to go around – and that many of our people are already overqualified for the work they do.

‘Put simply, this idea suggests that there is not enough room in Britain for more success – that getting on in Britain is like getting into a nightclub with a strict door policy – one-in and one-out. Only when somebody else leaves or gets kicked out can you gain entry to the roped off area and a good job.’

As part of a move to drive up standards in maths, ministers have already toughened up the curriculum with children expected to know their 12×12 times table by aged nine.

Calculators will also be banned from tests for 11-year-olds and any student who fails to get a C grade in maths GCSE will be made to resit the exam until they do.

via Replace homework with extra maths lessons in schools so British children can compete with China, says minister | Mail Online.

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