Adding up: Russell claims high numeracy skills in primary schools


SCOTLAND’S primary classes are achieving and sustaining high performance in numeracy skills, Education Secretary Michael Russell claimed 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.

Not quite Einstein, but numeracy is improving in Scottish primaries claims Russell. Pic: Museum of The History of Science, Oxford


“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.”

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