'Historic' deal will see Shanghai maths books sold into UK schools

'Historic' deal will see Shanghai maths books sold into UK schools

Collins Learning has signed a first-of-its-kind deal to translate an influential Shanghai maths learning series – the first time the publisher has imported a book for use in schools this way.

Shanghai has a strong reputation in maths education, regularly topping the influential Pisa education rankings run by the OECD in the subject, while British pupils far behind in the table.

With the aim of helping British teenagers catch up with their Shanghai counterparts, Collins has signed a deal with the Shanghai Century Publishing Group to translate 36 books in the Real Shanghai Mathematics series, to publish in September 2017.

The publisher is aiming to gain endorsement for the series as part of £41m funding announced by the government last year for the Teaching for Mastery Programme.

Lee Newman, primary publishing director, has told The Bookseller it is likely to be the first of more imports for the  publisher as the UK seeks to raise its educational attainment in the international rankings.

She said: “Collins primary resources are used all over the world but this is the first time we have imported a resource and translated it directly in this way, this was a big deal for China.”

She added: “At the heart of Shanghai mastery teaching is a belief that all children can excel at maths, which resonates with our values and ambition at Collins. We're thrilled to be working with Shanghai Century Publishing Group to give our maths teachers and pupils access to these rigorous, well executed resources.”

Colin Hughes, managing director of Collins Learning, called the publishing deal  “a historic moment”.

“To my knowledge this has never happened before - that textbooks created for students in China will be translated exactly as they have been developed, and sold for use in British schools.”

The Shanghai mathematics programme emphasises complete mastery of basic numeracy knowledge and skills to allow vastly accelerated progression through to advanced numeracy.

Dr. Wentao Mao, VP of Shanghai Century Publishing Group, said he “firmly believed” the books could help UK students “succeed in mathematics”.

In 2015, Collins published a new a series of maths textbooks for use in UK schools called Shanghai Maths, based on the system used in China. Contrary to the more recent deal, the Shanghai Maths books were adapted for the curriculum in England, whereas Real Shanghai Mathematics is a direct translation and will not be adapted for the English curriculum.

Last year the British government announced it would spend £41m to support half of England’s primary schools in adopting maths teaching methods from Asia. The Department for Education (DfE) has also flown in teachers from China, in an attempt to improve the UK’s flagging standards.