Nick Gibb – a poor man’s George Osborne?

Back in 2014, I wrote “What a turnip” as the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, refused to answer the simple times table: “what is seven times eight?”

Today it was the turn of the School’s Minister, Nick Gibb, who was on TV announcing his scheme for all eight and nine year old children to sit a compulsory times tables test.

Of course, the inevitable happened: he, himself, was asked a times tables question (what is 8 x 9?) and he, like Osborne before him, refused to answer.

I get why he (and other politicians) choose not to answer – what is in it for them? Nothing.  Get it right and “meh, you should know that”, get it wrong and it’ll haunt you forever, could even spell the end of a glittering* political career.   (* tongue firmly in cheek)

But the presenter, Kate Garraway, skewered him perfectly – in the context of the world of an eight year old, sitting a formal test is as high pressure as doing a TV interview is for a government minister.

To be fair, I don’t disagree with all that the Minister has said and done.  The results for individuals, or individual schools, will not be published, the data will be used as a tool to measure performance in this skill across LEA and the country. And he spoke of the need for instant recall of times tables allowing the freeing up of working memory for other tasks, and I agree with this.  As a maths teacher, I support anything that will promote numeracy and mental arithmetic – a solid foundation in these skills is not essential to future success in mathematics, but they certainly do help. A lot.

Anyway, you can watch the cringe-worthy ministerial squirming on the video below – it should start at the point the question was asked, but if you can spare six or seven minutes, its worth watching the whole interview from the beginning.

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One Comment

  1. kingsea
    Posted 16/02/2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks A Maths Teacher- I’m loving it so far!!!

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