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Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

School pupils in England should study maths up to the age of 18

An extract from BBC News 8 August 2011 – An interview with Carol Vorderman.

“School pupils in England should study maths up to the age of 18, a report for the Conservative Party has said.

It says radical change is needed to give children the mathematical skills needed to succeed in a workplace where numeracy is increasingly important.

The report, by TV presenter Carol Vorderman, said the current system was failing young people.

Almost half of 16-year-olds fail to achieve grade C at GCSE, with just 15% studying maths beyond that level.

This compares to almost all other industrialised countries, the report says, where either all, or nearly all, students study maths to the age of 18.

Ms Vorderman led a “maths task force” to produce the report, which was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove and Prime Minister David Cameron when they were in opposition in 2009.

She said more than 300,000 16-year-olds each year completed their education without enough understanding of maths to function properly in their work or private lives.

She said 24% of economically active adults were “functionally innumerate”, and universities and employers complained that school-leavers did not have necessary maths skills.

Ms Vorderman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that pupils who did not achieve the expected standard – level 4 – in the national curriculum tests known as Sats at age 11 faced a “catastrophe”.

Some 90% of them go on to fail to get a C at GCSE, she said.

“If you’re on the scrap heap by 11, you will remain mathematically on the scrap heap,” she said.

She recommended that the maths Sats, or national curriculum test, be scrapped, as it led schools to narrow their teaching to focus on the tests.

The test brought “no benefit to the children taking it,” the report concluded.”

See the interview:

Read the Report “A world-class mathematics education for all our young people”:

Spelling Mistakes ‘cost millions’

Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales

By Sean Coughlan BBC, News education correspondent, 14 July 2011

“An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses.

Charles Duncombe says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.

Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he has been “shocked at the poor quality of written English”.

Sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility, he says.

The concerns were echoed by the CBI whose head of education and skills warned that too many employers were having to invest in remedial literacy lessons for their staff.”

Click here for the full article on the BBC’s website:-

The Gift of Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia: Why some of the brightest people can’t read and how they can learn by Ronald D. Davis

“Why is this book important?  Because the methods described in it work.  Because the techniques can be used to ameliorate a wide variety of symptoms besides reading difficulties – from anxiety to writing difficulties to inability to concentrate.  Because it recognizes the unusual gifts and the extraordinary potential of dyslexics.  Because it turns the mysteries of orientation and disorientation into practical, life-changing techniques.  Because the ability to think in pictures is needed for success in the twenty-first century.”

“Visual-Spatial learners … It truly is a different learning style just requiring a paradigm shift in learning, learning a visual way.”

“… all the essential gifts of dyslexia, including greater development of intuition, the ability to perceive multi-dimensionally, vivid imagination, greater curiousity, insightfulness, the ability to experience thought as reality, heightened awareness of the environment, the ability to think in pictures, and, most important, the ability to alter and create perceptions.  These are vital gifts, becoming more and more sought after in the work world in the modern era.”

“While we are still obsessed in education with the importance of literacy, the future of today’s students is dependent on their ability to see the big picture, to predict trends, to read customers, to think outside the box, to see patterns, to inspire collaboration among peers, to empathize, to synthesize information from a variety of sources, and to perceive possibilities from different perspectives.  These are the natural talents of dyslexics.”

Some famous dyslexics:

  • Hans Christian Anderson
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • George Burns
  • Winston Churchill
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Please see my post “Think Like a Genius – The Mind’s Eye; ”

Wolf Review’s recommendations accepted

People Management magazine, June 2011 reminded me that the UK Government accepted all the recommendations in the Wolf Review in May and that prompted me to download the pdf and read the full Government Response.

“The government has accepted all the recommendations of the Wolf Review into vocational education, and has given author and professor Alison Wolf a formal government role to help implement them.  Under the plans, young people will have to study Maths and English to age 18 until they get a good qualification in those subjects.  League tables and funding rules will be reformed to tilt the balance towards provision of high-quality qualifications that lead to university and good jobs.”

For further details read the Government’s Response to the Wolf Review

Government's Response to the Wolf Review

























“We will take action on all of Professor Wolf’s individual recommendations, and in doing so, deliver on three key themes.  We will:

Ensure that all young people study and achieve in English and mathematics, ideally to GCSE A*-C, by the age of 19. For those young people who are not immediately able to achieve these qualifications, we will identify high quality English and maths qualifications that will enable them to progress to GCSE later. We will also reform GCSE to ensure that they are a more reliable indicator of achievement in the basics, in particular by ensuring that GCSEs are reformed alongside our current review of the National Curriculum.

Reform performance tables and funding rules to remove the perverse incentives which have served only to devalue vocational education, while pushing young people into qualification routes that do not allow them to move into work or further learning. Those vocational qualifications that attract performance points will be the very best for young people – in terms of their content, assessment and progression.

Look at the experience of other countries to simplify Apprenticeships, remove bureaucracy and make them easier for employers to offer.”

“All young people must leave school or college with good English and maths skills. For the majority of young people this should mean the achievement of GCSE maths and English A*-C: we know these qualifications support entry to the labour market and progression to further and Higher Education. However, we are aware that confidence in the GCSE has been undermined in recent years. So we have asked the independent regulator, Ofqual, to consider how to reform GCSEs in order to reduce modularisation and re-sitting and ensure that exams are typically only taken at the end of the course. We have also asked the regulator to consider how spelling, punctuation and grammar can be strengthened in GCSEs. In the coming years, alongside the review of the National Curriculum, these measures will ensure that we restore confidence in GCSEs as rigorous and valued qualifications.”

“We will commission a maths continuing professional development support programme, which will be in place by autumn 2011. This will build on the achievements of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and draw on Local Leaders of Education and National Leaders of Education as the network of Teaching Schools develops over the next few years. We will also continue to fund schemes which provide existing maths teachers with the detailed subject knowledge to become recognised as specialist teachers.”

“We will also want to ensure transparency of Apprenticeship funding, and the related benefits employers receive – because intermediaries often receive payments on employers’ behalf, many employers are not aware how much money the Government is investing in the training of Apprentices. We will investigate how this might work in practice, with a view to implementing transparency measures for the start of the 2012 academic year.  We believe that as much funding for Apprenticeships as possible should be spent on the programme’s delivery, and we will review contracting processes by January 2012, with a view to achieving efficiencies and greater simplification, drawing where possible on lessons learned from international exemplars.”

“Key milestones for implementing Wolf recommendations”

Recommendation Action Date
23 List of trusted qualifications reinstated and
available for teaching from September
May 2011
17 and 18 Announcement clarifying the rules around
professionals teaching in schools
May 2011
22 New qualification regulatory framework published
by Ofqual
May 2011
19 Communicate to schools and colleges on pre-16
enrolment in colleges
June 2011
4 Publication of Foundation Learning evaluation June 2011
22 and 25 New Ofqual conditions and criteria to regulate
more strategically come into force
July 2011
4 and 7 Consultation period on Special Educational Needs
Green Paper ends
July 2011
11 Review of 16-19 funding formula Summer 2011
1-3 Consult on core attributes for 14-16
qualifications in performance tables
Summer- Autumn 2011
5 and 6 Consult on study programmes for 16-18 year olds Summer-Autumn 2011
9 Consult on English and maths qualifications for
16-18 year olds
Summer- Autumn 2011
19 Complete investigation into barriers to pre-16
enrolment in colleges and make recommendations
Autumn 2011
10 Maths CPD support programme Autumn 2011
8 Development of Proposals on Apprenticeship
Autumn 2011
4 and 7 Review of provision for lowest attaining learners
complete and recommendations made.
December 2011
8 Review role of SSCs as Issuing Authorities for
Apprenticeship frameworks
January 2012
11 Implementation of new 16-18 funding formula March 2012 onwards
21 Statutory Instrument commences removing statutory
requirement for work-related learning at Key Stage 4
September 2012

Wordle word graphics

“Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.”

This is an example that I created of a list of words to be learnt for a spelling test…  


… and this was me experimenting…