We want to establish a coherent pathway for numeracy throughout school.

We want all children to see maths as something they can learn and something that is relevant to their lives after school. Whether or not they proceed to higher maths, all children need to develop confident numeracy skills that will serve them well throughout life.

These skills should be based on the ‘Essentials of Numeracy for All’ – a model that describes the fundamental mathematical understanding needed by children and adults.

There are of course pockets of excellence in school maths education: these need to become the norm rather than the exception. We therefore support the dissemination of good ideas and the scaling up of good practice.


There are separate education systems in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the four administrations have followed often very different paths. But each nation faces similar challenges in improving numeracy and we would encourage the four to discuss and compare approaches and to learn from each other.

  1. Every teacher must become a teacher of numeracy. That does not mean that every teacher becomes a maths teacher but that numeracy – just like literacy – is recognised as an intrinsic part of every subject across the school curriculum.
  2. A new measure of numeracy proficiency should be introduced for all young people at the age of 14. This would establish a national benchmark for the level of numeracy needed for further study in all subjects between the ages of 14-19.
  3. An additional and universally respected qualification in numeracy (or core maths) is needed alongside GCSE maths. Politicians and curriculum and qualifications regulators must give serious and urgent consideration to the introduction of dual GCSEs in maths and numeracy.

Read our report The Essentials of Numeracy: a new approach to making the UK numerate

Work so far

  • Working directly in schools – see an overview of this
  • Providing support to those involved in numeracy teaching and learning – read about our Numeracy Experts
  • Developing our Essentials of Numeracy for All model – take a look
  • Providing a research overview around effective numeracy teaching and learning – see our Research & Resources section
  • Putting research into practice by running and supporting projects – see our projects
  • Working with those responsible for policy and planning to raise standards and where necessary to challenge them on the basis of evidence – see our report The Essentials of Numeracy: a new approach to making the UK numerate