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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Education in the media: 2 November 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: numeracy


Today’s news review looks the result of the incorrect storage of chemical 2,4 DNP and a study into maths conducted by Oxford University.

Chemical storage

There has been media coverage today of a number of incidents at schools where emergency services have been called to remove a chemical called 2,4-DNP after it was stored incorrectly.

The chemical is used in A level practical science activities and if stored correctly there is no risk to pupils or staff. However if it is not stored correctly it can become unsafe.

The incidents have been reported by several media outlets.

Some have incorrectly reported that these incidents follow new guidance being sent to schools on how the chemical should be stored. This is not the case, schools were emailed to remind them to check they are storing chemicals correctly. There has been no change to guidance.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We have contacted schools to remind them of the importance of storing chemicals for practical science activities carefully.

Oxford maths study

On Wednesday, 2 November, Oxford University published a study that found children starting primary school who are taught maths using Asian-style methods make more progress within two terms than those who are not taught using those methods.

This story was picked up by the Daily Mail, Times and i news.

We welcome this study, which is the first to quantify the impact of the ‘mastery’ approach to teaching maths. It follows the Government’s announcement in July of £41 million of funding to enable 8,000 primary schools to adopt the method.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We are seeing a renaissance in maths teaching in this country, with good ideas from around the world helping to enliven our classrooms.


The significant expansion of the south Asian maths mastery approach can only add to the positive momentum, with thousands more young people having access to specialist teachers and quality textbooks.


Find out more about the Maths Mastery approach.


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