The 12 times tables will be reintroduced to primary school children in a new curriculum announced by the education secretary Michael Gove today. Five year olds will also be taught fractions again from this early age, as the emphasis shifts back to a more traditional academic curriculum.
Currently, children up to the age of 11 are only expected to learn up to their ten times tables. If Gove gets his way, this will chance to the 12 times tables being learnt off by heart by children as young as nine.
Maths isn’t the only subject set for a revamp though. Dickens, Austin and Thackeray are among the per-20th century writers to be given pride of place in the curriculum, as Gove attempts to reignite interest from young people in the authors of the past.
Most controversially of all though are Gove’s plans for history. The education secretary will stick to his guns and insist children learn UK history in chronological order. This means no more focus on the Nazis or Tudor period, as pupils will instead be encouraged to explore key characters in UK history, such as Queen Elizabeth I and Oliver Cromwell. Many critics were dismayed at this British-centric plan, however Gove has now confirmed that every pupil will study events from world history too, although British history will take prominence.
Commenting on the plans, Terry Wrigley of Leeds Metropolitan University said: “My own feeling is that Mr Gove is simply not listening to anyone. To think you rely on memorisation is simply a delusion. It strikes me the way that Gove’s mind works is he thinks you raise standards by getting nine-year-olds to remember their 12 times tables and five-year-olds to do fractions. It is not the direction other high-performing countries have taken.”