Teachers specialising in maths education jobs should be given clearer guidelines from the government, according to the chairman of the National Association for Primary Education (NAPE).
John Coe made the comment in reaction to the recently released Vorderman report, which called for "a world class mathematics education for all young people".
The report, which was headed up by Carol Vorderman, argued that primary school children should be actively encouraged to use maths "in other areas of their daily routine", with number work practiced in "an interesting, less formal manner."
But the NAPE chairman took this focus on primary school maths education further, criticising "the damaging emphasis" on "mental arithmetic and learning tricks," which he believes can be seen in current primary curriculums.
"We are left with a 23 year old who has simply no idea how to determine how many rolls of wallpaper she requires to paper a room," he said.
Both Coe and the original report were quick to note, however, that it was the system itself rather than the work of teachers which needed a re-think.
The recently published Vorderman report, which was commissioned by the Conservatives, showed that around 85 per cent of students in UK schools give up mathematics after GCSE.
Upon its publication, secretary of state for education Michael Gove MP said: "Mathematical knowledge gis the most precious gift an education can bestow.
"Without a secure understanding of mathematics then musical composition and architectural design are impossible. Chemistry, physics, biology, geography, economics and even poetry rest on the foundations mathematics provides."
NAPE represents a partnership between teachers, parents, schools and education officials keen to improve the standards of education seen in the UK.
Earlier this year, the organisation was involved in an all-parliamentary group report into the barriers facing literary in the UK's schools. It recommended against the rollout of the government's proposed phonics check for young children.
Posted by Theo Foulds