Maths Education

We Need More Core Mathematicians 23 September 22

In 2014 education minister Liz Truss set an ambition that most pupils would study maths after the age of 16. In the eight years since, the numbers have probably fallen.

Greek letters 3 December 21

Greek letters are used throughout maths, so why isn't the Greek alphabet a standard part of the curriculum?

Imagine a Maths exam written by History teachers 3 November 21

Maths at school often has little interaction with other subjects. But what if maths exams were set by history, art, music and science teachers?

My Mr-Barton-Maths podcast 16 September 19

Some thoughts on maths, puzzles, parenting and cricket.

The Importance of Humour in Maths 12 July 19

GCSE examiners are discouraged from including any humour in their questions. The unintended consequence is humour-free maths lessons.

16% of 25? Easy! 21 May 19

A regulation percentage calculation went viral recently. Last week a teenager called me a genius for being able to work this out in my head.

Manipulative 16 February 19

Another bit of teacher jargon that is being imposed on children.

The Alfred Hitchcock Lesson

The Alfred Hitchcock Lesson 16 March 18

When schools have a special themed day, it's often a bit worthy or dull. But here's the story of how a school added mystery and suspense to the classroom.

The Chicken Pie Problem 6 November 17

GCSE examiners have been told to include tougher problems in exams. But the result is often problems that bear little relation to real life problem solving.

I was sharing the joy of maths... 7 May 17

We all make mistakes in maths. And that's fine, really it is. But there are some mistakes I could do without.

To stream or not to stream 6 December 16

Faced with a choice of sending your child to a school that streams or one that doesn't, what would you do?

Let's hear it for Arithmeticians 4 October 16

Is it time to reinstate 'Arithmetician' as a skill that has high status.

He loved his parents, The Queen and Superman 1 September 16

The so-called 'Bodmas' rule for which order you should do calculations causes more trouble than it's worth.

The SATs Fiasco 12 May 16

As children in primary school take their so-called SATs, there's confusion and misinformation all over the place

Mathematical magic 17 March 16

If you have one minute to get somebody engaged with maths, what do you do?

Hannah's Sweets 6 June 15

The maths GCSE question about Hannah's Sweets was tricky, but the level of media coverage was out of all proportion.

What can the Chinese learn from us? 1 December 14

English schools are discovering some highly effective teaching methods from the Chinese. But what can the Chinese learn from us?

How to Teach Maths 4 February 14

If exams didn't exist how would I teach maths? And what maths would I teach?

What's the maths difference between boys and girls? 24 January 14

Segregating boys and girls for a lesson had some interesting results.

Three Sevenths 18 November 13

Primary school children deserve the chance to discover how to turn fractions into decimals

Meta Blog 5 April 13

I've had three blogs published in The Times and Guardian recently. More details here...


There was a time, maybe as recently as ten years ago, when every office and school had cupboards full of overhead projectors. Then came Powerpoint and Smartboards, and most institutions happily threw out these space-hungry devices.