Norwich free school will become maths hub for our region as part of new £11 million government initiative

Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza learning how maths is taught in China

Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza learning how maths is taught in China - Credit: Archant

A prominent chain of Norfolk academy schools will become part of a new network of 'maths hubs' that the government hopes will help England's schoolchildren compete with youngsters in top Asian nations.

Elizabeth Truss in China

Elizabeth Truss in China - Credit: Archant

The Inspiration Trust's Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich, which opened in September with a specialism in maths, will, together with Kesgrave High School in Suffolk, provide one of 32 hubs across the country.

The £11 million programme follows a high-profile visit to China in February, when a delegation which included Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, and Elizabeth Truss, South West Norfolk MP and education minister, studied maths education.

The Department for Education said the centres will offer specialist subject teaching for primary schools in maths and other subjects, shared online lesson plans for teachers, daily maths lessons, homework and catch-up sessions, and instruction on maths techniques such as addition and subtraction, long multiplication and division and times tables.

Chinese maths teachers will come to Norfolk to give masterclasses in the subject.

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Ms Truss said: 'There is no reason why children in England cannot achieve the same standards in maths as those in Japan, Singapore and China. We put in more resources in England than in these countries and we have the best generation of teachers ever. Yet our children are two to three years behind by the age of 15.

'We must learn from the systematic practice of these high achieving countries, who are constantly seeking to improve. Maths hubs will bring this approach to all parts of the country and all schools will be able to benefit.'

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She added: 'Maths is the most important subject for a child's future - it commands the highest earnings, provides the best protection against unemployment and will get you everywhere, opening doors to dozens of careers.'

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