Schools fail test of time at maths

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The Independent Online
Less than 36 minutes a day was spent teaching maths in one in eight infant schools, says a study published yesterday.

A survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research also found nearly half the infant schools questioned and a quarter of the junior schools taught maths for under three quarters of an hour a day.

The study of almost 400 schools in the autumn of 1996 points to wide differences in the way the basics are taught. The time spent on maths lessons varied from 12 minutes a day in one infants school to nearly an hour and a quarter a-day in 2 per cent of infant schools.

The NFER research follows the Government's numeracy task force advice last month that all primary schools teach maths for an hour every day. The Office for Standards in Education's annual report published on Wednesday said education remained a ``lottery''.

Sue Harris, a senior research officer for NFER who carried out the report, said: ``The fact that there is greater variation on the time spent teaching maths is surprising. But responses did not take account of the time spent teaching maths under the guise of other subjects."

She said some schools may also have been using thematic project work to teach maths.

A large number of schools taught in line with the Government's recommendations - with 36 per cent of infants and 49 per cent of juniors teaching maths for between 48 minutes and an hour a-day.

A spokesman for Ofsted said: ``This is another bit of research that reiterates the need for further progress."