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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Campaign to make maths count
Making maths less boring is the campaign aim
A campaign to make maths really count in schools is being launched.

A new advertising and poster campaign from BBC Wales and the Basic Skills Agency is being launched across Wales on Monday and is intended to make mathematics attractive to young people.

The campaign kicks off with three 30-second television adverts in English and Welsh to be shown on BBC Wales and S4C from Monday night.

With a voiceover from children's presenter Sarra Elgan, the adverts use videogame imagery to emphasise how maths is relevant to real life.

The adverts are based on intriguing facts or questions that are not obviously mathematical - and only at the end will it be revealed that the viewer's interest has been held by a mathematical problem.

For example, one of the questions posed is: If you put a grain of rice on the corner square of a chessboard, then two on the next one, four on the next one, eight on the next one, and keep doubling up on each square, how many would you have to put on the last square of the chessboard?"

The answer is: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 .

'Knowledge is power'

Developed in partnership with BBC Wales as part of the National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales, which is overseen by the Basic Skills Agency on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, the adverts have been launched to coincide with Mathcymru's Maths Week.

The television promotion is being supported by posters and street advertising carrying the slogan "Knowledge is Power and with Maths you can prove it" to reinforce the message.

The adverts and posters are part of a wider campaign being undertaken by the Basic Skills Agency in partnership with teachers to promote interest in numeracy and raise levels of confidence and attainment amongst young teenagers.

Every school in Wales will receive a range of classroom resources to support teachers in taking a stimulating approach to maths teaching.

Rhiannedd Pratley, executive director for Wales at the Basic Skills Agency said: "When children leave primary school and start secondary school their learning can be interrupted.

"It is particularly important to help young people feel confident that maths is something they can understand, and to help them develop an awareness of its relevance to everyday life.

Jane Davidson
Jane Davidson -"Maths skills are vital to Wales."
"I hope this campaign will encourage 11- and 12-year-olds to enjoy maths and work towards improving their numeracy skills."

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson said, "Maths is part of our everyday lives and having the right skills is vital if Wales is to continue to compete successfully in the global marketplace."

Phillip Moss, Head of Promotions and Branding at BBC Wales said: "There's a tendency among 11- and 12-year-olds to write maths off as boring, and then they don't engage with the subject.

"For the adverts I wanted to give them a maths conundrum, packaged and branded like the games they buy, but something that would make them think.

"These adverts are not meant to be maths lessons, and they certainly won't replace the brilliant work that maths teachers do in schools across Wales.


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