Most people know by now that Singaporean students score highest in the world when it comes to maths and problem solving, and many credit their Singapore Math curriculum that emphasises problem solving skills, visualisation, mental maths skills and very slow but deep understanding rather than rushing through the curriculum for this success. There have been large scale pilots of the Singapore Math method across the US in recent years, but in the UK we just seem to be at the very early stages. I don’t really understand why there isn’t more interest in adapting their text books and methods given the success, especially as in this case it really does seem to be thanks to real understanding of mathematical concepts rather than rote learning or tutoring centres (so-called gambols) that are so prevalent in South Korea.
I like everything I hear about Singapore Math and had already decided that if my children are not taught maths properly at school I would just get the text books and do Singapore Math with them at home (hit me, I’m a tiger parent!!). But I’ve also spent quite a bit of time trying to find out which primary schools in London (if any!) follow the Singapore Math curriculum. You would think that private schools with all the freedom they have to do things differently from state schools would enthusiastically embrace such a successful method, but so far I have found surprisingly few schools – two prep schools and one state school, to be exact. Maybe they are more and they are all keeping it a secret to wow the world with their inexplicable success, but here are the only three schools openly using Singapore Math I have found so far – if you know of any more, please let me know!
- King Solomon Academy, City of Westminster: a state primary school located near Edgware Road in Marylebone that was founded as an ARK Academy in 2007. They’ve run trials with Singapore Math and seem to be expanding its use after encouraging results. Admission is via the City of Westminster council.
- Wandsworth Prep School, Wandsworth: this is a very new prep school that looks very interesting – I will visit them early next year. They follow Singapore Math curriculum from Year 1, run a Forest school and integrate drama into their teaching. I like it when schools do things creatively rather than just following the National Curriculum.
- Northwood Prep School, Rickmansworth (Hertfordshire): well, technically, this one is not in London but I know some North London parents send their kids here. Their head of Maths gave a talk about the success the school has had since implementing Singapore Maths at the prep school, namely a surge in students winning academic scholarships at the likes of Eton and Harrow. You can view the talk here:
In addition, there is a new programme called Mathematics Mastery piloted in over 250 primary schools in the UK currently that is trying out how to incorporate Singapore Maths methods into the UK curriculum. The ARK academy primary schools in London are taking part, as well as the New Kings Primary in Fulham, which has seen massive success with the programme and is now rolling it out across all year groups.