Numeracy in key stages 2 and 3: an interim report - November 2014

Summary

This report is the second in a series published in response to a request for advice 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 over a three-year period. For this report, inspectors re-visited the schools that participated in the 2013 numeracy baseline study to evaluate progress over the last 12 months. Inspectors will visit the same schools next year for a final time to assess whether or what progress has been made, with particular reference to how schools have been implementing the numeracy component of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework, which became statutory in September 2013. The intended audience for this report is the Welsh Government, headteachers and practitioners in schools, and officers and advisers in local authorities and regional consortia.
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Recommendations

Schools should:

  • ensure that pupils master important number skills, such as division, work with metric measures, percentages, ratio and proportion, in mathematics lessons;
  • develop pupils’ numerical reasoning skills in mathematics lessons and in other subjects;
  • extend the opportunities for pupils of all abilities to use their numeracy skills in subjects across the curriculum;
  • support staff to widen their knowledge and understanding of strategies to use numeracy across the curriculum;
  • improve the assessment and tracking of pupils’ numeracy skills;
  • strengthen procedures for evaluating numeracy provision; and
  • work more closely with cluster schools to develop greater consistency in teaching and assessing pupils’ numeracy skills.

Local authorities and regional consortia should:

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

The Welsh Government should:

  • consider developing a national system for tracking pupils’ numeracy skills.