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About us

Our vision is for everyone in the UK to get on with numbers so they can get on in life.​

Our mission is to improve how people understand and work with numbers in day to day life – sparking better opportunities and brighter futures.

We want to empower everyone in the UK to have the numeracy skills that allow them to fulfill their potential​ at work, home and school.  We believe that a major shift in attitudes is key to this.

Our aim

National Numeracy was established as an independent charity in 2012 to help raise low levels of numeracy among both adults and children and to promote the importance of everyday maths skills.

We challenge negative attitudes, influence public policy and offer practical ways to help adults and children improve their numeracy.

By working with communities, employers and teachers, we want to enable everyone across the UK to be confident and competent with using numbers and data, so they can make good decisions in their daily lives.

Our approach

We are working towards our aim in two main ways:

Raising awareness about poor numeracy levels which exist in the UK, how numeracy differs from mathematics, and promoting the recognition that everyone can improve through campaigns such as National Numeracy Day.

Improving numeracy - more than 500,000 people have registered to check and improve their maths skills with the National Numeracy Challenge, giving them a space to assess and learn at their own pace.

Our report 'Essentials of Numeracy: a new approach', published in summer 2017, provides an overview of the issue; why things aren’t working and our proposed solutions.

Our strategy

As a nation, our numeracy levels are significantly below average for developed countries which costs the UK economy millions of pounds in unemployment, poor health, debt and the skills gap. Low confidence and competence with numbers disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities, with anxiety about numbers often passed on from generation to generation.  

To stop this cycle and become an engine of social mobility, our focus is on encouraging people in communities where the need is greatest to take that first step. By breaking down confidence barriers and encouraging a growth mindset, we empower people to learn – whether to help with formal qualifications, career prospects, family life or financial well-being. 

Over the past 10 years, we have used data to evaluate and improve how numeracy is understood, valued and developed. As such, we’ve become the UK’s ‘go-to’ numeracy experts, contributed to Government policy and attracted funding from key partners which is making our work scalable and sustainable.

With their support, we now run a growing suite of programmes, listed below. In addition to our campaigns, these reach parents, carers and schools; employers and employees; communities and individuals – work that is amplified by our much-valued ambassadors. 

  1. Training and workshops 
  2. Family Maths Toolkit 
  3. National Numeracy Challenge

By the end of 2023, we aim to have achieved over 2.7 million engagements with people to improve their numeracy (including 1,000,000 engagements annually by 2023).

Our values

Our “Core Four” deeply held values define what’s important to us. They guide our actions, drive our decision-making, and exemplify how we serve individuals and communities.   

Community commitment: We put people first. We give 100% to our people, partners and communities.   

Trusted experts: We are the UK’s numeracy experts. We use data and evidence to offer credible, trusted insight.  

Empowered futures: We empower people for positive change. We listen, build confidence and enable people to gain greater control over their futures.  

Always learning: We believe change can happen. We are persistent and passionate in supporting people, partners and communities to accomplish their goals.

Our impact

Read our Impact Report to find out what difference we are making to people’s lives.

Read the Impact Report (PDF)

Impact report cover image, with photos of National Numeracy's Hero beneficiaries

We believe

  • Numeracy is an essential skill – and an entitlement – for everyone. The economic success of the UK and the wellbeing of people individually are dependent on it
  • Everyone can improve their everyday maths skills. Numeracy can be learnt. Mathematical understanding is not determined at birth
  • Improvement takes effort and application. The real key to better numeracy skills is determination and resilience. Learning can be hard work for everyone
  • Improving numeracy needs encouragement, support and good teaching. The education system, employers and politicians all have a part to play
  • Negative attitudes are the foremost barrier to making the UK numerate. Removing them – getting rid of mistaken beliefs and the widespread ‘rubbish at maths’ tag – is fundamental to change