Nicky Morgan announces ‘war on illiteracy and innumeracy’

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From the BBC:

All children in England will be expected to know up to their 12 times table when they leave primary school, the government has announced.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said pupils aged 11 should also know correct punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Labour said the “surest way” to raise standards was to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.

Mrs Morgan indicated the Conservatives would ring-fence most of the schools budget if they won May’s election.

‘Master the basics’

Under the Conservatives’ plans, pupils would not be made to re-sit planned new tests until they passed, but the school could be subject to measures if they failed.

A school that failed to get every pupil to pass the tests for two years running could be paired with an outstanding school to gain extra support. It could also become part of a teacher swap where heads of departments from good schools take over temporarily.

“We have to be ambitious for our young people. If you don’t get it right at primary, then it becomes much harder for children to catch up at secondary school,” Mrs Morgan told BBC 1’s Andrew Marr show.

Key Stage Two tests already include questions on times tables and long division but pupils are given an overall mark, not for individual sections.

Mrs Morgan plans to make times tables a separate section within the maths test.

In an article for the Sunday Times, Mrs Morgan wrote that she would “launch a war on illiteracy and innumeracy.”

“We will expect every pupil by the age of 11 to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel,” she said.

“They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar.

“Some will say this is an old-fashioned view, but I say that giving every child the chance to master the basics and succeed in life is a fundamental duty of any government.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Mrs Morgan was asked about money and appeared to suggest the schools budget for pupils aged five to 16 would be ring-fenced.

“We’re going to have more to say on schools funding very shortly but what I can say is that I am absolutely fighting for the schools budget to be protected,” she said.

Mrs Morgan has set a new target for England to be the best in Europe, and among the top five countries in the world, for English and maths by 2020.

Cllr Steve Tierney
District Councillor at Fenland District Council
I am the District Councillor for the Wisbech Medworth Ward. I live in Alexandra Road with my wife Marie, my 10 year old Son Joe and three crazy Jack Russells.