§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he intends to take to improve the teaching of mathematics in primary schools.
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is in the process of implementing a national curriculum for mathematics in primary schools. The curriculum is aimed at improving standards, including basic mthematical skills. Pupils between the ages of five and nine are currently being taught the curriculum and from August 1993 it will apply to all primary school pupils.
The results of the first national curriculum tests for mathematics of seven-year-olds show that 74 per cent. of pupils have reached the expected standard (level 2) or higher. These results are encouraging but there is scope for further improving basic mathematical skills. Advice has been sought from the School Examinations and Assessment Council on the detail of the results. Once this is available my right hon. Friend and I will decide what further guidance teachers might require.
Copies of the bulletin giving details of the test results have been sent to all primary school headteachers and directors of education so that they can make their own comparisons of performance and to ensure that standards in their schools are kept under regular review.
Her Majesty's inspectorate (Wales), as part of its ongoing programme of inspection of individual schools, will look closely at the standards of teaching in mathematics. Where the inspectorate report unacceptably low standards the local education authority will be asked about the improvements it proposes to make.
Grant support will continue to be made available to assist local education authorities in 1992–93 to provide training and support to teachers implementing the national curriculum, including the mathematics curriculum.