Carol Vorderman launches ‘The Maths Factor’ website

Carol Vorderman has launched an online maths school – – to help children and their parents master maths. Looking at the video on the site, the materials seem pretty impressive, and Carol’s enthusiasm is palpable.


  • the ‘free sample sessions’ advertised on the homepage don’t appear to be currently available;
  • there’s no evidence presented for why her system might work as well as she promises (though, to be fair, she’s published very popular educational maths books for Dorling Kindersley, and has worked hard to promote maths across the political divide);
  • although parents are subscribing to a software product (albeit a sophisticated one), the promotion material is quite cheeky in appropriating the language of private one-to-one tuition – for example, ‘Carol Vorderman is your child’s personal tutor and she’s passionate about maths. We teach on a one-to-one basis’;
  • the survey which the The Maths Factor launch is piggy-backing on (revealing that one in five primary primary school pupils receive extra help from a private tutor) is not startling, and confirms data from earlier studies.

Finally, the most amusing detail of this story has to be the reaction to the survey by former chief inspector of schools Chris Woodhead, as reported in The Daily Telegraph:

“This statistic demonstrates how Labour has failed generations of primary schoolchildren … Nothing is more important to children’s education than being able to read, write and add up. Billions of pounds have been spent to no avail.”

Leaving aside the hyperbole, I’d like to see the statistics to support Chris’s assertion that ‘billions of pounds’ were spent to ‘no avail’. Then we’ll see who can or can’t ‘add up’.