East Renfrewshire strategy to promote mathematics

East Renfrewshire Council hopes its mathematics strategy will improve attainment levels.
East Renfrewshire Council hopes its mathematics strategy will improve attainment levels.

Children will be subject to a maths charm-offensive in East Renfrewshire.

Education chiefs plan to change the perception that the subject is “boring” and “difficult” in a bid to increase attainment by 2021.

A new council strategy is aiming to boost the quality of learning, employability skills of pupils and to change public attitudes to maths and numeracy.

The local authority is known for having some of Scotland’s highest performing schools, with a third of S5 and S6 pupils presented for Higher maths.

But Councillor Paul O’Kane, the convener for education, admitted more must be done to boost the profile of maths.

He said: “The strategy outlines our ambition for all children and young people within the context of numeracy and mathematics and our commitments to supporting everyone, including staff, to realise their potential and develop their skills and capabilities to be successful in life.

“It identifies the key aims we will be working to achieve in the next three years and the clear set of actions that will be taken by the education department and schools in order to deliver these aims.

“This outcome-focused approach will help us ensure that the experiences we provide have a positive impact on the children and young people who attend our centres and schools.”

Within the draft strategy plan, the council said it expects to see increased attainment in numeracy and maths by 2021, with a reduction in gender, poverty and ethnic attainment gaps.

Teachers will also play be expected to become more confident in delivering the subject, with a greater involvement in parents and employers also being lined-up.

The local authority will aim to improve learning experiences for all children and young people and create greater enthusiasm for maths.

A report by Mhairi Shaw, director of education, said: “Nationally, there is often a negative public perception of mathematics.

“In many cases this is related to a negative experience of the subject whilst at school.

“The strategy recognises the need to work with parents and partners to improve attitudes towards mathematics and numeracy and promote the value of mathematics as an essential skill for learning, life and work.”

Councillor Alan Lafferty recalled his own experience of maths, claiming that it was a subject to be “endured” when he was in school.

But Jim Swift said: “You can’t value the importance of maths highly enough in society.

“Most of the best-paid jobs require maths nowadays. Education is important and most of the jobs that come out of that are numerate.”

Under the plans, the council said it would work with its PR team to promote greater enthusiasm and increased awareness of the importance of numeracy and maths to everyday life.