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Maths Teaching Boost For Primary Schools

The Government today announced another key component of its drive to give every New Zealand child a flying start in learning maths.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said arrangements were being made for a further 17,000 primary school teachers to participate in the Government’s numeracy development project.

Almost 3,400 teachers have already been through the professional development programme, and the Government is so pleased with its success that it has committed up to $9 million a year to it for the next four years.

"The project involves teachers taking part in intensive workshops over a school term, interspersed with one on one work with each child in their class. During this period they plan a new mathematics programme based on the identified needs of each child," Trevor Mallard said.

“Each year, between 4,000 and 5,000 primary teachers will be given the opportunity to participate in this initiative. By 2005, almost every teacher of Year One to Year Six children and most teachers of Year 7 and 8 children will have had the advantage of taking part.

“This will go a long way towards enhancing teacher capability and improving student achievement. It also complements the support for professional development in literacy that builds on the very successful literacy leaders' programme. ”

Trevor Mallard said one of the most crucial aspects of the project are the follow-up visits made by the numeracy facilitators to help the teachers put into practice what they have learnt. About 50 facilitators are employed around the country.

Schools help by purchasing the classroom materials and equipment that is necessary in the effective teaching of mathematics.

Trevor Mallard described the results to date among the 3,400 primary teachers who had participated in the Numeracy Development Project in 2000 and 2001 as impressive.

“Teacher confidence has improved markedly, while student achievement in mathematics is getting better and better. Today’s announcement will, I am sure, build on these very positive trends.”


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