TV Cream

Bric-a-Brac: S is for...


In the ’80s, competition was good and proper, in ever sphere of endeavour. Even, it seems, in education. Early in the decade, teachers were encouraged to fling aside those doughty old bastions of primary school numeracy training, the Fletcher Maths books, and crack open big green, orange and purple crates of wipe-kleen laminated cards with cryptic little serial numbers like ‘151/7’ in the corner, and cheery diagrams of elephants counting in tens on the front. The Schools Maths Project simultaneously made things easier for teach (kids were expected to get a new card once they’d finished the sums on the present one) and kids (the whole thing was a damn sight dumber than the old school books, but don’t tell the inspectors). But in away, it was also harder, as the whole thing became a race. Gone were the days of having to make sure everyone turned to the same page and did the same work. Now the brighter (or, more likely, more over-eager and slapdash) kids raced ahead, finishing off the orange box and ploughing into the purple without so much as a by-your-leave, while the rest toiled with square numbers down the lower reaches of the green crate. Thus an area of scholastic activity which had previously, and quite rightly, been free from any form of aptitude envy was now the subject of jealous looks as variously-brained kids found themselves meeting at opposite ends of the SMP crates. It could have come to blows at some points, we swear. It would all be justified if the ’80s generation turned out to be collectively any better at maths than those who went under the Fletcher regime, but, er…



  1. Graysonscolumn

    November 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Aaaarrggghh, it’s all coming back to me now. A rabbit called Annie Add, a cat called Sally Subtract, and lord knows what else.

    Wish they’d have carried the series into the VIth form. Desmond Differential Equations and Colin Calculus might have stopped me from failing A-Level maths so spectacularly. Meh.


  2. Kitten in a Brandy Glass

    November 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    The menagerie of sum-themed animals were completed by a mouse called Mickey Multiply (at least I think it was Mickey, but maybe it was a similar, less copyright-infringing name?) and a dog called Danny Divide.

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