METRICATION:  95% complete
Metric Non-metric
Mathematics Conversion factors for some imperial units re-introduced to maths curriculum in the late 2000s
Science education
Sports and P.E.

Government reports

“Economy of time in education is one of the beneficial results of the Metric system. While the study of English weights and measures is laborious and repulsive to both teacher and pupil, any one can easily master the Metric system. “Comparing the English system of calculation with the decimal” says M. Lorsont, “I think the difficulty of the English system is as great as it would be to make a calculation in the old Roman figures.” The Metric system is soon learnt; “any person” says Mr. Fellows, “in a quarter or in half an hour would be able to master the whole Metric system.” The time which the use of a decimal system would save in education has been generally stated (on the authority of schoolmasters) to be at least a year.”

Report from the Select Committee on Weights and Measures – 15 July 1862

“… strong evidence was brought forward as to the serious loss of time incurred by English school children in having to learn the complicated system of tables of existing weights and measures, and the urgent need of the adoption of a simpler system. It was stated that no less than one year’s school time would be saved if the metrical system were taught in place of that now in use.”

Report from the Select Committee on Weights and Measures – 1 July 1895

The Royal Society

On 20 March 1968, the Royal Society recommended that in primary schools there should be a change of emphasis in favour of the metric system from September 1969, and that SI units should be exclusively used in GCE and CSE maths exams not later than 1972.

In September 1969, to assist with the changes needed, the Royal Society published two pamphlets for teachers concerning the introduction of the metric system: Metric Units in Primary Schools and Metrication in Secondary Education.

The Metrication Board

“Education is critical. A new generation will have to think metric. This must be reflected throughout the whole educational system on a time-scale consistent with having a Metric Britain in 1975.”

First Annual Report of the Metrication Board
Lord Ritchie-Calder, Chairman, Metrication Board – 17 March 1970

In 1971, through its Steering Committee for the Education and Industrial Training Sector, the Metrication Board collaborated with the Schools Council in the production of Metres, litres and grams, a 40-page guidance booklet for teachers in primary schools on the introduction of metric units of measurement.

“Children born from now on will be freed from the clutter of imperial units and will come to treat them as a quaint piece of history …”

The booklet covered metric units of length and mass, and showed how children can soon become familiar with the units by measuring and comparing the masses, volumes, and dimensions of everyday objects in the classroom. Details of apparatus and equipment were also given, such as metric trundle wheels, measuring cylinders (graduated in cubic centimetres), and metric graph paper.

“… every classroom should contain metre and 50 centimetre rules, a metric tape measure, and a vertically fixed scale so that children can measure their heights in centimetres.”

The booklet also discusses the use of practical exercises for the teaching of basic derived units such as those for area (cm2, dm2, m2, and ha), volume (cm3 / millilitres, and dm3 / litres) and speed (cm/s, m/s, etc.).