for teachers. Experimentation with different teaching methods is important, but only if there is rigorous external validation.
So far, however, there has been little sign of coordinated national debate about what mathematics it is most important for pupils to know, nor of how best to teach it. If international comparison tests do not correspond to National Curriculum priorities, then we should not be driven into what might be seen as anti-educational practices simply in order to improve our international league table position. One art we could profitably learn from other countries is how to make curriculum decisions that are rational and consultative, rather than dictatorial, hasty and ideologically driven.