Numeracy in key stages 2 and 3: a baseline study - June 2013

Summary

This report is the first in a series in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Minister’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2012-2013. It looks at standards in numeracy at key stages 2 and 3 and how a sample of primary and secondary schools is developing pupils’ numeracy skills across the curriculum. Inspectors will revisit the same schools over the next two years and later reports will focus on the implementation and impact of the numeracy component of the Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF), which becomes statutory in September 2013.
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Recommendations

Schools should:

  • make sure that pupils master basic number skills thoroughly in mathematics lessons and have effective strategies to recall essential number facts quickly and accurately;
  • agree whole-school approaches to performing simple calculations;
  • provide more opportunities for pupils to use numeracy skills, particularly number skills and numerical reasoning, in subjects across the curriculum;
  • make sure that numeracy activities stretch pupils appropriately, including the more able;
  • assess and track pupils’ progress in numeracy skills across the curriculum and use assessment information to plan better numeracy activities;
  • design transitional primary/secondary school activities to support consistency and progression in pupils’ numeracy skills;
  • provide opportunities for numeracy co-ordinators and mathematics departments to work together with other teachers to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence to develop pupils’ numeracy skills; and
  • monitor and evaluate the impact of strategies for improving numeracy.

Local authorities and regional consortia should:

  • support schools to help staff to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence to develop pupils’ numeracy through their subjects; and
  • share best practice between schools.