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Letter: Poor maths results add up

Sir: So, the International Maths and Science Study shows English teenagers perform poorly in mathematics (report, 16 November). Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that it is teaching methods - and, by implication, teachers - that are to blame, might I suggest a long, hard look at the content of the national curriculum for mathematics?

Many years BC (Before the Curriculum), the majority of the maths syllabus was taken up by number and algebra, and statistical topics were hardly mentioned. The national curriculum made data-handling into first one quarter and now one third of the syllabus, with number and algebra squashed into one third between them.

Now England comes bottom of nine industrialised countries in number and algebra. The only thing that puzzles me is why anyone should be at all surprised.