Page last updated at 23:52 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 00:52 UK

One-to-one maths help for pupils

primary classroom
The scheme costs 2,500 per pupil, the government says

Thousands of six and seven year olds in England who struggle with maths are to be offered one-to-one teaching in school after a successful pilot scheme.

In the pilot of more than 2,000 pupils, nearly 75% were able to reach expected levels in numeracy following tuition.

From next September, the 30,000 least able pupils will get 20 hours of tuition from specialist teachers.

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: "It's time to break the cycle of poor numeracy skills being passed on."

Overall numeracy standards have risen over the past 10 years in England, but one in five 11-year-olds still leaves primary school without achieving the expected level.

It shows what can be achieved when business, charities and government work together
Jean Gross
Every Child A Chance

None of the children who took part in the pilot project had been predicted to achieve the expected level in maths at the age of seven.

The cost of the scheme per child is £2,500 - a price worth paying, according to the government, to reduce the 15 million adults who currently struggle with maths.

Mr Coaker added: "These are stunning results which show that inspiring and innovative teaching can stop the lowest achievers going into a downward spiral for the rest of their school careers and into adulthood.

"Numeracy is not an optional extra for anyone - it is a part of everyday life and is all around us the entire time. It is vital children understand and are confident using basic maths concepts at a young age."

The scheme, which will involve daily, 30-minute intensive sessions, will be run by the Every Child A Chance Trust, a partnership of the government, charitable foundations, the business sector and universities.

Jean Gross, its director, said the programme "has had an amazing impact on children and on schools".

She added: "It shows what can be achieved when business, charities and government work together. We look forward to seeing the scheme continue to grow, so that one day every child who needs help with numeracy can get it."

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