By VICTORIA LEGGETT Education correspondent
Friday, November 9, 2012
A Norfolk MP who has spearheaded a government decision to ban calculators from primary school tests said it would help boost the numeracy skills of the region’s youngsters.
The government today announced youngsters would no longer be able to rely on the aides as part of their Key Stage 2 assessments from 2014.
Education and childcare minister – and South West Norfolk MP – Elizabeth Truss revealed the decision which she said would help to tackle a culture which had made it acceptable to be “bad with numbers”.
There are currently three maths tests sat by youngsters at the end of primary school, one of which allows calculators to be used.
Making the announcement, Ms Truss said: “All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums.
“By banning calculators in the maths test, we will reduce dependency on them in the classroom for the most basic sums.”
Performances by Norfolk youngsters in their KS2 tests have been disappointing in recent years, with improvements not keeping up with the national average.
Gavin King, head at Bressingham Primary School near Diss, said: “This move can only help raise standards as strong calculation skills are vital in developing children’s wider mathematical skills.”
But Tony Hull, head teacher at Costessey Junior and Rackheath Primary schools, said he did not expect the change to impact much on the efforts already being made to arm pupils with the skills they needed.
He said: “Pupils taught well won’t be relying too heavily on calculators, they will use them for support.”