Pupils could face calculator ban
Published 01/12/2011 | 15:27
Primary school pupils could be banned from using calculators until they have learned basic sums, ministers have said.
The move comes amid concerns that an over-reliance on calculators is damaging children's arithmetics.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb suggested that calculators should only be used once a pupil had mastered basic maths, including knowing their times tables off by heart.
"We need to look at the use of calculators in primary schools," he said.
"Children can become too dependent on calculators if they use them at too young an age. They shouldn't be reaching for a gadget every time they need to do a simple sum.
"They need to master addition, subtraction, times tables and division, using quick, reliable written methods. This rigour provides the groundwork for the more difficult maths they will come across later in their education.
"You can't expect children to cope with complicated quadratic equations if they don't know their times tables by heart."
Mr Gibb added that pupils who fail to get a good grasp of basic maths early on, struggle with the subject later in their school careers.
The issue will be looked at as part of the ongoing review of the national curriculum.
Official figures show that almost a fifth of children are lagging behind in maths by the age of 11. Statistics published by the Department for Education reveal that 18% of pupils in England failed to make the progress expected of them in maths between the ages of seven and 11.