The Government says ‘Good teaching and high academic standards are strongly associated with adequate provision and widespread use of high-quality textbooks.’ And, ‘ a well-designed textbook provides a coherent, structured programme which supports a teacher’s own expertise and knowledge as well as a pupil’s.’ Hard to argue with that.

Lord Nash answering a PQ on 14 April said ‘Cambridge Assessment’s report, ‘Why textbooks count’, analysed the use of high-quality textbooks around the world. The report found that use of textbooks is common in high performing education jurisdictions. In Finland, 95% of maths teachers use a textbook as a basis for instruction. In Singapore, 70% of maths teachers use a textbook. In England, only 10% of maths teachers use a textbook for their core teaching.On 26 March 2016, the Department for Education published a report from a review group looking at teacher workload in relation to planning and resources. The group concluded there is a case for schools to place greater emphasis on quality- assured resources, including textbooks, to reduce the time teachers spend on searching for resources.Good textbooks also have workbooks which support homework in a positive way by providing well-structured practice exercises linked to clear explanations, which parents can understand and use to help their children.We have been working with textbook publishers with the aim of improving the quality of textbooks available to schools, to better support excellent teaching and teacher professional development. Last year, the publishers produced a set of common guidelines for the production of textbooks.’

This is what Nick Gibb MP , the schools Minister, said in the Foreword to the Cambridge Assessment paper:

‘Ideological hostility to the use of textbooks, particularly in primary schools, developed in the 1970s. Their replacement with work sheets and hundreds of thousands of bespoke written lesson plans has added to teacher workload, detracted from coherence and impacted on standards. This seminal paper will, I hope, lead to the renaissance of intellectually demanding and knowledge-rich textbooks in England’s schools.’


Why textbooks count A Policy Paper Tim Oates –Cambridge Assessment -November 2014

TES-Tim Oates 18 April 2016



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