China trip could help Norfolk be best for maths - Dame Rachel de Souza

Dame Rachel de Souza Photo: Bill Smith Dame Rachel de Souza Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
6:30 AM

Norfolk could become the leader of an education revolution that would transform children’s achievement in maths in England.

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That was the bold ambition of the head of one of the county’s academy school trusts as she prepares to join education minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss on a trip to China to learn why Shanghai tops international education league tables.

Dame Rachel de Souza said second year pupils at the Great Yarmouth and Norwich Primary Academies, which are part of her Inspiration Trust, out-performed older children after they were taught using the Singapore maths model.

She said: “My hope is that we can get some of these ideas back to Norfolk and bring them to all Norfolk schools. We would want to work with the local authority schools.

“I would like to see Norfolk lead the way. This could be something that Norfolk can be a UK world beater at, if we get it right.”

Shanghai’s 15-year-olds topped the 2012 international Pisa tables for maths, while England was ranked in 26th place, and a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the children of cleaners in Shanghai and Singapore outperform the sons and daughters of UK doctors and lawyers in global maths tests.

The latest analysis found that in the UK, the children of parents with a “professional” job - such as doctor or lawyer - scored 525.94 points on average in the Pisa maths test.

In Shanghai, the sons and daughters of parents with “elementary” occupations - such as cleaners and catering assistants - scored 568.9 points on average. In Singapore, this group scored 533.58 points.

Dame Rachel said she expected to see short but very intensive large group lectures, followed by one-to-one follow up, with no-one going home until they had mastered the concept, and added that teachers returning marked assessments to pupils the following day also seemed to be vital.

She said maths was particularly critical for Norfolk because of the needs of the energy and engineering sectors.

Ms Truss said: “Shanghai is the top-performing part of the world for maths – their children are streets ahead. Shanghai and Singapore have teaching practices and a positive philosophy that make the difference. They have a belief that diligence redeems lack of ability.

“Our new curriculum has borrowed from theirs because we know it works – early learning of key arithmetic, and a focus on times tables and long division, for instance.

“They also have a can-do attitude to maths, which contrasts with the long-term anti-maths culture that exists here.

“The reality is that unless we change our philosophy, and get better at maths, we will suffer economic decline.”

Does Britain have an anti-maths culture? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

18 comments

  • Barely 15% separates the top 25 countries in the unreliable Pisa survey - sampling discrepancies can mean wild shifts in the table. What's more the China survey is based on Shanghai alone, which excludes many students from its tests because they have migrated there from the countryside. What's with the cult of maths? Didn't the mathematical expertise in the world of banking lead us into the worst recession for a long time? Perhaps they will learn useful new methods, but if they want to ensure better Maths teaching, with Maths specialist, perhaps they should pay teachers more.

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    pablo

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

  • Could RDS report back on the number of academy trusts in China?

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    TheTruth

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • George Ezekial should look at the financial and academic fiddles being carried out by academies , trusts and free schools across England and gradually being revealed before heaping praise on the supposed successes of the schools under de Souza's control. Is there any parent from any of them who will stand up and say well my kid was a complete thicky but the school helped him pass 8 real academic GCSEs at above Grade C? Or my kid was a bit of a thicky and wasnt allowed to take many exams. Or are there parents who will say my kid was quite bright but was entered for a handful of vocational or unconventional qualifications and whizzed through with A in all of them? Many fear that the success is in the manipulation not the education.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Surprise, surprise I see that GY Prim Academy hasn't got any Ofsted data but its exam results are some of the worst in the county but of course with Tory backers they are well protected from public scrutiny. For the recorded the % achieving a lev 4 in Reading, Writing and Maths was 55% which is 20% below national average and 41% at 4b against 63% national average whilst St Nich's is at 71% and 59% respectively. Any LA maintained school performing so badly for 2 yrs now would be in Special Measures but of course this won't be allowed to happen to G Y Primary Academy since DeSouza and Inspiration would be finished!!!

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    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • This obsession with Dame DeSouza gets more ridiculous by the day. The answer is very simple......UK parents should stop hating maths; we could teach maths all day everyday as in China, Singapore, Shanghai......; parents could support schools and see education as being most important......etc. Our cultures, aspirations etc are very different and we really don't need expensive trips to Shanghai to prove this. Why DeSouza too......she only represents 7 schs.......all to do with a cosy elite who haven't a clue about education and will doubtless return spouting their usual ill-informed rubbish at our expense. She runs 2 Norfolk primaries with the Yarmouth one remaining one of the worst performing in the country compared to the excellent St Nicholas Priory Jun which according to Ofsted's dashboards shows it to be way ahead of G Yarmouth Prim Academy. Additionally, Norfolk LA sent a group out 2 yrs ago so TALK to them about lessons to be learned. This is just a publicity seeking stunt to promote the Government and the tiny Inspiration Trust, all at our expense.

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    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Brilliantly put Knowlittle.......you could also add that for a little Island we remain the 6th wealthiest economy in the world which can't be divorced from our education system (ask the CBI) so things perhaps are far better than the smokescreen of so called sch failure suggests. How inconvenient for Truss, DeSouza and the blindingly stupid DfE.

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    Sportswagon

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • Frodo yes you are right I made a typo but at least your correction was civilized and wasnt accompanied by making stay late until I got it right.............

    Report this comment

    expat

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Perhaps she should run classes showing GY parents how to be Tiger parents making their kids work before and after school til they drop. And show the single mums and dads ( who are themselves a product of GYBCs policy of keeping a town economy based on cheap labour for the holiday industry and importing tenants for houses in multiple occupation) what lies beyond the prospect of unemployment or zero hours minimum wage jobs in GY. If the intake at the former Greenacre is no better than it always has been, and I suspect it is now even poorer, then the pupils are probably much poorer and disadvantaged-relative to the rest of society- than those tested in Shanghai.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Cherry, last time I looked schools do not hate maths and maths is taught every day but I dont think you would want your child taught the way children are taught ( by some accounts) in some schools in China. The De Souza woman has no proof that she has turned anything round because the playing field and goal posts were constantly moved. This report into maths is highly discredited , according to several observers reported elsewhere-the sample size, the claim that the children are poor and the complete disregard for the conditions in which children are educated. Since it is illegal to shout at bully and beat children in the UK that is one hand teachers have behind their back in comparison. Accusing schools in GY of being bad is unfair-does anyone see what their pupil intake is like, the rapid turn over of arrivals from all parts of the world, the despair that permeates whole families where the parents themselves are ill educated and see no way forward? Chinese children want to learn so they can get on or get out to the USA or Cambridge-if GY kids could see that , through all the mayhem of their disfunctional lives, they might have an incentive. But the country as a whole is packed with those who have science and engineering doctorates who are under utilised because our economy was wrecked by cheap Asian imports and bad management . I know plenty of kids from Yarmouth with A at maths at GCSE and A level, my own included. All I can say is the last time educationalists looked abroad for inspiration they looked to the USA and came home with SATS-and look where that got us.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Cherry, sorry to break this to you dear but your statistics say nothing. Should more of St Nicks cohort be achieving Level 4A? Is it that Gt Yarmouth Primary has a challenging cohort which has made outstanding progress. Dame Rachel IS shaking up education. Dame Rachel has turned low achieving schools around. She is right to say getting parents to engage with their children and do maths is a struggle for teachers. Yes there is an agenda in government to disrespect the State system which is wrong. Dame Rachel is enjoying the support of the government in this atmosphere but please remember she started her tenure over the Inspiration Trust during the years of Labour mismanagement.

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    George Ezekial

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • The phrase - with no-one going home until they had mastered the concept - is a key phrase in the article. Having experienced tiger mom and tiger teaching I doubt if the practices of these cultures would fit very well in UK culture. Most of it is designed to force a learning by wrote in order to satisfy the exam requirements without teaching any real understanding of the underlying principles. I'm glad I didn't enrol my child in one of the academies.

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    expat

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • If de Souza want's to know about teaching methods in China she need only read about Dotheboys Hall school run by Wackford Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby and save herself the trip.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Really George....these aren't my statistics but the Government's and they prove that St Nich's, which serves the 4th most deprived ward in the country after 3 Liverpool and London wards, is achieving far higher results than GY Prim Academy despite the later being an academy for 3 years and having vast sums of money thrown at it. Re-the cheap Labour jibe.....couldn't care a less who started this academy joke but care hugely that politicians are lying and scheming with children's futures to push their political educational whims on us all at any cost.

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    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • The woman has no credibility. Suspect she will get another honour next year though

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    Double Bill

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • I don't believe there is a school in Norfolk which wouldn't prefer its results to be competing on a level and fair playing field. Sadly the stakes are high which means some schools will go to any lengths to give the impression their teaching methods are more successful than the majority. I would like Dame Rachel to ask some questions whilst on her visit: 1. Where are the handicapped and special needs children educated? Are they educated in mainstream schools like ours and are their results included in the national data like ours? 2. Do these schools educate their pupils in the same way the Chinese educate their gymnasts - by standing on their backs and treading on their fingers if they get it wrong (as we saw in the documentary) 3. If China has such an outstanding education system, how come our universities are full of Chinese students (and I'm not just talking about Oxbridge! Every university is the same - heaving with Chinese)

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    KNOWLITTLE

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • Who is paying for this jolly?

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    Jacob Burns

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • The EDP's infatuation with Dame Rachel makes obvious that it is not a serious newspaper. This is a puff piece and not educational news in any way, shape or form. But hopefully everyone in China will have a jolly junket. Who's paying for it?

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    wook

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • "with no-one going home until they had mastered the concept" is a key phrase. It's a different cultural background - and not necessarily a better learning environment. Results may be better but it would all depend on how those results were elicitated from the children and to what extent other life skills are given up in return for better math results.

    Report this comment

    expat

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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