Wales politics

£3m maths network to improve teaching in Welsh schools

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A £3.2m drive to improve how maths is taught in Welsh schools has been launched.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams will unveil the "network for excellence" at a school in Cardiff on Friday.

It will bring together schools, colleges, universities and the four regional education consortia.

It follows a £4m investment to drive up standards in science and technology, announced in January.

Students in Wales have fared poorly in the Pisa global education tests - scoring the lowest of the UK nations in science, reading and maths.

The results in December marked the fourth time Wales has performed worse than the other UK nations.

Image caption Kirsty Williams will unveil the plan alongside maths expert Dr Hannah Fry at Cardiff High School

Ms Williams said the new network - which will receive £800,000 of Welsh Government funding a year for the next four years - would work together to improve maths and numeracy teaching and learning.

Its role will include:

  • expert advice on tried and tested methods to boost results
  • high-quality teaching resources
  • conferences and special events on effective teaching practice
  • the creation of a new dedicated online maths zone on the Hwb learning website
  • development programmes for staff to improve their maths skills

"We are on a national mission to improve education standards to make sure all our pupils have an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards," Ms Williams said.

"This is particularly important in such a critical subject such as maths.

"Our new National Network for Excellence in Maths uses Wales' ability to come together, to share understanding of what works best, and to support each other in raising standards and our ambitions for excellence."

Skills and training

The plan has previously been welcomed by teaching leaders but calls were also made to tackle a shortage of maths teachers.

Tim Pratt, director of the Association of School and College Leaders Cymru, said in November: "Schools are reporting difficulties in recruiting maths teachers with the right level of skills and training they need."

"We would be very happy to work with the Welsh Government to develop strategies to address this situation."

In December 2015, a task force set up by former Education Minister Huw Lewis called for a centre of excellence for maths and hubs in schools to boost what was seen as the weakest of the core subjects.

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