(This article originally appeared in Viz, issue number 148, September 2005)


By our Eight Times Table Correspondent Octavia McTable

The Government is preparing to make sweeping changes to the national mathematics curriculum after a poll revealed that 75% of the country think that seven eights are 62.

Within hours of the report’s publication, commissioned by the University of Leicester’s Ignorance Department, cross-party pressure was growing for swift action to reflect public concerns on the issue.

top down

The government was quick to respond to the poll’s findings. “If a sufficient number of people strongly believe that seven eights are 62, then we must ensure that their views are represented in our schools”, said Thunderbird-faced Education Secretary Ruth Kelly last night. “It’s not enough to teach from the top down, we need to listen to what the public wants from education, and deliver appropriately.”

In a draft syllabus presented to reporters on the back of a Palace of Westminster Speedo Pizza leaflet, Kelley explained how 75% of the school year could be spent teaching that seven eights are 62, while remaining lessons might reflect the scientific establishment’s consensus of 56. A special two-week course unit would cover minority views such as nine and a million.

wayfarers on

This isn’t the first time that the eight times table has come under fire recently. The poll follows President Bush’s controversial remarks last week that “the jury is out on 7X8″.

“There’s no proof there’s an eight times table” said little Bush. “If a eight times table had ever existed they’d have dug one up by now”.

Pressure is mounting from pro-mathematics groups for the government to mount a hasty defence of the popular table. “This is a very disturbing finding,” said Derren Goodenough from 7X8.com. “Clearly the Department of Education needs to do more to support the eight times table.”

hair slicked back

However, in a statement issued last night, a spokesman restated the government’s position, insisting that it was “committed to delivering best practice in improving accessibility standards for customers of the eight times table” or something



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