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A decade of impact: National Numeracy's 10th Anniversary

13 Oct 2022

National Numeracy, the UK's only charity dedicated to everyday maths, celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the launch of a new report

A decade of impact, 2012-2022 offers key learnings from 10 years of National Numeracy’s work on improving numeracy and fresh research from a new YouGov survey commissioned by the charity on the state of the nation’s numeracy.

"A decade of impact, 2012-2022" cover image

What have we learnt about improving numeracy?

The report covers learnings from boosting confidence, social mobility and gender to workforce productivity, policy-making and motivations and offers many bit-sized stories about the impact of our work.

It also features insight from partners who enable our work and help us to support the millions of Brits with low numeracy and some of our beneficiaries who talk in the report and accompanying video about the life-changing effects of improved numeracy.

10th Anniversary reception

The anniversary reception event - generously hosted by Bloomberg at its beautiful City of London HQ - gathered many of those with an interest in National Numeracy’s mission to empower children and adults to get on with numbers so they can fulfil their potential at home, work and school. 

From supporters and celebrity ambassadors to media and beneficiaries, it was a fantastic opportunity to take stock of the past decade and look forward to scaling up National Numeracy’s work over the next ten years.

National Numeracy CEO Sam Sims calls for collective effort on numeracy

Sam Sims, CEO of National Numeracy, told those gathered: “Make no mistake. Getting on with numbers can open up opportunities and brighter futures, it can drive productivity and prosperity, and it is within everyone’s grasp.”

And while he celebrated the success of a decade of impact, Mr Sims was keen to emphasise that there was so much more to do: “We must meet people where they are – at work, where employers can and should play a huge role and have so much to gain, as well as at home - and focus on inspiring people to get started, on own terms and at their own pace – the part of the broken system that at National Numeracy we are working hard to fix.

“This will require a huge and sustained collective effort over the next decade. But…we have proven that change is possible, this is our moment.
“National Numeracy starts its second decade of impact with scale, momentum, a wealth of knowledge and a stellar and expanding group of partners and supporters. We know what works. And together we can accelerate our impact to open up opportunity for not just thousands, but millions more people.”

Putting good numeracy at the heart of the UK's next decade

Over the past decade, National Numeracy has supported hundreds of thousands of people across the country to improve their number confidence and skills. As a result, we have a deep understanding of how and why people improve their numeracy skills, the UK's largest data set about adult numeracy, and a unique learning tool with the National Numeracy Challenge.

We have been curious about how people feel about maths. We have sought to understand their backstories, their motivations, the barriers in their way and their routes both into and onwards from improving their numeracy. Join us in putting the advantages of good numeracy at the heart of this country's next decade of development.

For partnership enquiries:  [email protected]   
For media enquiries:   [email protected]

Report: A decade of impact, 2012-2022

This short report combines the findings of new YouGov research with some of our impact stories and reflections on a decade of working to build a numerate nation from partners and beneficiaries.

Read the report

the cover of the National Numeracy report called A decade of impact, 2012-2022

Video: Real impact on real lives

How does improved numeracy have a positive effect on real lives?

Watch this short video of some of the people we have worked with talking about their experiences of gaining confidence with numbers and building number skills.

Watch the video

Top 10 learnings from 10 years of improving numeracy

1. Confidence is crucial to unlocking skills improvement.
We put it at the heart of everything we do.

2. Social mobility is held back by poor numeracy which has a disproportionate effect on disadvantaged communities.
Our new strategy focusses on supporting those with low numeracy in disadvantaged communities, where the need is greatest.

3. Parents/carers are key in breaking the cycle of negative attitudes to numeracy.
We help parents/carers support children and improve their own numeracy at the same time.

4. Levels of numeracy (both actual and perceived) lag behind that of literacy.
Our award-winning campaigns have inspired over 700,000 actions to improve numeracy.

5. Gender – there is a number confidence and skills gap between women and men across all age groups. We purposefully support women and girls to build confidence and break down barriers.

6. Productivity - numeracy for getting into work and getting on at work is a key motivator for both employees and employers.
We help employers build skilled, resilient and adaptable workforces and communities, through training ‘numeracy champions’ to support colleagues.

7. Business leaders underestimate the UK’s numeracy crisis and overestimate average numeracy levels.
We launched the National Numeracy Leadership Council in 2021 to collaborate on solutions.

8. Policy should focus on low numeracy hot spots as a potential lever to support more equitable access. We help decisionmakers by offering unique tools and insight, like the UK Numeracy Index.

9. Motivation to improve numeracy is boosted by valuing maths in daily life.
We focus on the reasons people give for wanting to improve their numeracy: work, managing money and supporting children.

10. Belief that maths ability is fixed is often the biggest barrier to improvement.
How people feel about maths and encouraging a growth mindset are central to our work.