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A winning formula for maths

Can teachers who are anxious about maths promote positive attitudes to the subject in pupils?

A dissertation on the subject has won a major award for a primary teacher in Arbroath.

Sharon Friel-Myles, of Hayshead Primary School, won the prestigious George D Gray award for the best undergraduate thesis in teacher education in Scotland.

She argued that maths anxiety affected both teachers and pupils, having been affected herself, and her research explored ways in which pupils could be assisted to gain confidence and enjoy the subject.

The award came just a day after former schools inspector Graham Donaldson told the Scottish Parliament's Education Committee that some trainee teachers struggled with basic numeracy.

Presenting the award to Ms Friel-Myles, Anthony Finn, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, said: "The judges found this thesis interesting and highly relevant to current thinking. [It] supports the priority currently afforded to numeracy in schools and may therefore have benefits for other teachers."

Ms Friel-Myles added: "There are many teachers who are anxious about mathematics, but are ashamed to admit it. There are also many pupils who feel anxious about the subject and are missing out on career opportunities as a result."

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