1. ITV Report

New £11m maths centres to raise results of pupils

The Comberton Academy Trust in Cambridgeshire is one of the government's new maths hubs. Photo: Russell Hookey / ITV Anglia

New maths centres, including four in the Anglia region, have been launched by ministers as part of a government bid to ensure England's schoolchildren can compete with youngsters in top Asian nations.

The 32 "hubs", which are being established in existing schools and academies, will follow an "Asian-style mastery approach" to maths, according to the Department for Education.

The four in the Anglia region are:

  • Comberton Academy Trust in Cambridgeshire
  • The Hertfordshire & Essex High School and Science College in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
  • The Inspiration Trust in Norfolk (Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School in Norwich with Kesgrave High School in Suffolk)
  • Denbigh School in Milton Keynes
The £11 million programme has been developed by Shanghai University and the UK's National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths. Credit: PA Wire

It said that the centres will offer specialist subject teaching for primary schools in maths and other subjects, shared online lesson plans for teachers, daily maths lessons, homework and catch-up sessions, and instruction on maths techniques such as addition and subtraction, long multiplication and division and times tables.

The £11 million programme has been developed with academics from Shanghai Normal University and the UK's National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths.

It has already been announced that around 50 Chinese maths teachers are to come to England to give masterclasses in the subject, based at the new "hubs".

Education Minister and Norfolk MP Liz Truss says we must learn from high-achieving countries Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Education Minister and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said: "There is no reason why children in England cannot achieve the same standards in maths as those in Japan, Singapore and China. We put in more resources in England than in these countries and we have the best generation of teachers ever. Yet our children are two to three years behind by the age of 15.

"We must learn from the systematic practice of these high achieving countries, who are constantly seeking to improve. Maths hubs will bring this approach to all parts of the country and all schools will be able to benefit."

The UK came 26th in an international maths league table in 2012. Credit: PA Wire

"Maths is the most important subject for a child's future - it commands the highest earnings, provides the best protection against unemployment and will get you everywhere, opening doors to dozens of careers."

– Liz Truss, Education Minister

Recent international tests put Shanghai, with a number of other Asian nations, at the top globally for maths skills.

More than half a million 15-year-olds took part in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study, with the findings published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in December.

Overall, the UK came 26th in maths with an average score of 494. This was broadly the same as the average for the subject, and on a par with nations such as the Czech Republic, France and Norway.

But it also left the UK lagging far behind leading areas including Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

A new analysis of the data, published earlier this year, found that the children of cleaners in Shanghai and Singapore outperform the sons and daughters of UK doctors and lawyers in global maths tests.