Summer schools to offer maths

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MORE THAN 1,500 11-year-olds will be offered the chance to improve their maths during the summer holidays, the Government said yesterday.

Ministers announced pounds 500,000 funding for 51 summer schools which aim to give pupils a better start at secondary school.

A programme of literacy summer schools, which began last year, will be expanded to include 560 schools for about 17,000 children. They will receive pounds 5m of public money and a pounds 1m private donation.

Summer schools, based in secondary schools throughout the country, will offer 50 hours' extra tuition with the emphasis on mental arithmetic. The Phoenix school, in west London, recently turned round, and the Ridings School in Halifax, operating under a new head after discipline broke down, are among those involved.

Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, said: "Summer schools are part of our strategy to raise standards. Starting secondary school is a daunting experience. A good grounding in numeracy at the start of term will make the transition much easier."

Results of last year's literacy summer schools were mixed. An evaluation report showed that, though pupils' reading did not improve, their confidence and attitude to school did.

All the summer schools are part of the Government's strategy for meeting targets for 11-year-olds in English and maths. In maths, ministers want 75 per cent to reach the expected level by 2002. The present figure is 62 per cent.

Parents will play an important part in supporting pupils who attend numeracy schools. Mr Byers said: "Parents in particular are a key influence in helping youngsters see the value of numeracy."

Pupils aged 11 are expected to be able to calculate mentally the solutions to questions such as: calculate 70 per cent of pounds 20; divide 47 by 10; what is 47 x 25?