Reading for pleasure ‘boosts pupils’ results in maths’

A research announcement from the Institute of Education:

Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown […] analysed the reading behaviour of approximately 6,000 young people being followed by the 1970 British Cohort Study.

[…]  reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents’ level of education.

Dr Sullivan notes that reading for pleasure had the strongest effect on children’s vocabulary development, but the impact on spelling and maths was still significant. “It may seem surprising that reading for pleasure would help to improve children’s maths scores,” she said. “But it is likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.” […]

‘Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading’, by Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown, is the latest paper to be published in the CLS Working Paper Series.


National Curriculum is published

The new National Curriculum is published today.

 A further consultation on the programmes of study for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science will follow, in line with the timetable for the reform of GCSE qualifications.

The majority of the new national curriculum will come into force from September 2014, so schools will now have a year to prepare to teach it. From September 2015, the new national curriculum for English, mathematics and science will come into force for years 2 and 6; English, mathematics and science for key stage 4 will be phased in from September 2015.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2013 – Mathematics

Mathematics in British Universities with their world rank according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2013

1 University of Cambridge
5 University of Oxford
12= Imperial College London (shared with Caltech and U. Toronto)
23 The University of Warwick
38 University of Bristol
46= The University of Manchester (shared with Nanyang and Auckland)
51-100 King’s College London
51-100 The University of Nottingham
51-100 University College London
51-100 University of Edinburgh
51-100 University of Leeds
101-150 University of Glasgow
101-150 University of Southampton
151-200 London School of Economics
151-200 Queen Mary University of London
151-200 University of Bath
151-200 University of Birmingham

GCSE and A-level reforms timetable delayed

Ofqual has published an exchange of letters with the Secretary of State about the next  steps for A level and GCSE reform. In short, Glenys Stacey, Ofqual’s chief regulator, told the education secretary that new A-level examinations in Mathematics and Further Mathematics would not be ready until 2016.Regarding GCSEs, she wrote:
It is clear that the amount of work needed on GCSEs, including the development of strengthened regulator arrangements, means we cannot be confident that new, high-quality GCSEs in all subjects could be ready in good time for first teaching from 2015″ …
We have therefore decided that we should focus the GCSE reform programme initially on English language, English literature and mathematics, which are the subjects where there are the biggest concerns.

Ofqual has also published the report by Professor Mark Smith on the exam boards’ subject-by-subject review of A level content requirement: