Children's secretary Ed Balls MP visited Joseph Lancaster Primary School on Thursday to learn about a scheme where businesses are paying for extra maths tuition.
At Joseph Lancaster Primary School Mr Balls learnt about a scheme where business is funding a £600,000 programme at ten Southwark schools using five specialist trained teachers to give one to one tuition for half an hour a day to those having the greatest difficulty with maths.
Headteacher Richard Slade demonstrated different ways of making mental arithmetic attractive to seven-year-olds. These included using an example of counting chickens and eggs in an incubator.
In Hackney 412 children aged seven received the extra tuition and within a year 83 per cent had either caught up with or overtaken expected numeracy levels for their age.
"We want every child to master the basic skills they need," says Ed Balls.
"Businesses tell me that they need all young people to have good skills and training so they are ready for work. Schools are doing a fantastic job in improving standards in maths – but intervening early with the small group of children who really struggle is the key to setting them on the road to success.
"I'd like to see more businesses come forward and get involved in the Every Child Counts programme – in the long run it will not only help prevent children from falling behind but help them have the workforce they need."
This September Joseph Lancaster Primary School and the adjacent Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College will amalgamate to form the new Globe Academy catering for pupils aged 3 to 18. The Globe Academy is sponsored by the educational charity ARK (Absolute Return for Kids).