MP who wants primary school children stopped from using calculators checks out maths lessons at grammar school

SHE may have caused angst with her belief that calculators should be removed from maths lessons but that didn’t stop MP Liz Truss testing the water with Wisbech Grammar School students.

The MP for South West Norfolk visited the school on Friday for lunch with sixth formers then onto a meeting with pupils from her constituency before sitting in on a maths lessons.

Ms Truss has been at the forefront of a campaign to remove access to calculators during primary school maths tests.

“What we have had is a generation of people coming out of school and quite a few of them who use a calculator but can’t estimate an answer in their heads,” she told radio listeners last week.

“That’s a problem, because people need to understand numbers first, and then be able to use a calculator to check their results. If you are relying on a calculator and aren’t able to do a common sense check, then that’s a big problem when it comes to employment and doing things such as running the daily finances.”

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She added: “The curriculum has been put out for draft consultation. If it gets approved it will start in 2014. It’s important that this concept is included.

“At the moment, British children use calculators more than any others in the world. I think that’s one of the reasons why our maths results aren’t as good as other countries”.

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Ms Truss wants the 8 to 11 year-olds to have use of calculators removed from their Key Stage 2 SATs in maths.

She added: “Businesses in South West Norfolk tell me about candidates for job interviews who lack the basic ability to do sums.

“The proposed changes will provide our young people with the appropriate maths skills that will prove vital to their future career prospects.”

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