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Articles about Soroban and Education in UK

Japanese teaching methods heading to the UK as British pupils look to play catch up

By Jonathan Petre 3 November 2012


"Japanese children can perform mathematical calculations far in advance of their British counterparts just by mastering the abacus, new research has found.


School children as young as five are able to add up five numbers, each running into billions or trillions, in just half a minute - and some Japanese teenagers can add so quickly that scientists are at a loss to explain their skill. "




Maths lessons 'should be toughened up', says Gove

By   29 Jun 2011


"Currently, maths is a compulsory subject between five and 16 but it is claimed that the demands put on children of all ages falls well below those elsewhere in the world." "





A Sense of Number - using the Soroban in primary mathematics

By Rachel Jackson, Primary Specialist, National STEM Centre


"There were three main reasons why Japan was top of the class at maths.


  • Firstly many Japanese adults, unlike myself, remembered their times tables. They are commonly taught as a nursery rhyme, the musical recitation making it easier for them to remember.

  • Secondly in Japanese eleven is ten one; twelve is ten two whereas in English we have to learn to twenty before there is a clear pattern.

  • The third reason was the extensive use of the abacus or Soroban in the teaching of number."


Source: National STEM Centre

Make Britain Count


The Telegraph's 2012 campaign aims to tackle Britain's growing problem with numeracy skills, where seven million adults cannot grasp basic mathematics. Find out more about the reforms needed and how you can get involved.



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OECD school league tables: 
UK ranked 28th for maths

By , Education Editor 07 Dec 2010


"The UK has been ranked below the international average for mathematics as part of a major league table charting education standards across the developed world.


Today's study by the OECD showed England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had fallen from 24th when the tables were last published to 28th this year.


The UK performed worse in maths than any other subject."



New primary curriculum to bring higher standards in English, maths and science

Published 11 June 2012 by Department for Education


"The drafts include the following:

Higher standards in maths


  • Pupils will be expected to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions in primary school so they can progress to more advanced topics like algebra when they go to secondary school. These four operations are not in the current primary curriculum. The proposed change is consistent with expectations in the high-performing education jurisdictions of Singapore and Hong Kong.

  • By age 9, pupils should know their times tables up to 12x12. This is in line with expectations in the high-performing jurisdiction of Massachusetts. Currently pupils only need to know up to 10x10 by the end of primary school.

  • By age seven, pupils should know “number bonds” up to 20. These are simple addition and subtraction facts that pupils should be able to recognise and use instantly (e.g. 9+9=18 or 16-7=9). "



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