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Join celebrities for the Big Number Natter this National Numeracy Day, 22 May!

14 May 2024

A host of famous faces – including National Numeracy ambassadors Bobby Seagull, Katya Jones and Jessica Gagen – will be taking part in this year’s Big Number Natter, showing people that however they feel about numbers, they’re not alone. 

The Big Number Natter is back

Many people say they have had bad experiences with maths, don’t need it or can’t understand it, but everyday numeracy is an essential skill, required for budgeting for shopping, helping children with homework, carrying out tasks at work and much more.

The Big Number Natter’s aim is to get people doing just that – nattering about numbers! Opening up about numbers could be the first step towards starting a numeracy improvement journey.

Celebrities all set to natter about numbers for National Numeracy Day

Keep an eye on social media for famous names taking part in the conversation, including:

TV presenter and author Katie Piper

Journalist and Interior Design Masters judge Michelle Ogundehin

Wildlife TV presenter and conservationist Chris Packham CBE

Illustrator and children’s writer Sir Quentin Blake

TV presenter and journalist Kaye Adams

Plus many more!

Beginning the conversation, National Numeracy ambassadors Bobby Seagull, Katya Jones and Jessica Gagen have had a Big Number Natter all about the ‘Number confidence gender gap.’  

Bobby, Katya and Jessica discuss their own experiences as well as what can be done about the issue:

Maths teacher and TV presenter Bobby Seagull said: “There’s actually research on this from National Numeracy and it shows that a quarter of women, 24%, feel nervous or anxious about maths, whereas maths for boys, it’s half that number, it’s only an eighth.  

“About 12% of boys and men feel anxious or nervous about maths, so clearly there’s that divide already that we see from a young age and that sort of filters through to adult life, where people who are women think just because they’re female they can’t do maths but actually it’s more to do with rebuilding your confidence.”

Strictly Come Dancing professional Katya Jones said: “It’s the pressure of the group sometimes, isn’t it? Because obviously, when we go to school it’s a group situation and everybody learns at different speeds and I know that as a dance teacher, who every year has to find a new way of delivering information, because everybody learns differently, they learn at a different speed.  

“For me, what I’ve realised is the moment you let go of the expectation of yourself and allow yourself and give that freedom to go wrong, or even just to simply admit: ‘Do you know what? I don’t know it. I’m confused,’ or ‘I’m slower than others,’ you let go of that pressure and then you’re open to actually learning and asking for help.”

Aerospace engineering graduate and Miss World Europe Jessica Gagen said: “I took A-level maths and then I began to struggle because suddenly I found myself in this really smart class full of kids that I didn’t know and I was bottom of the class as opposed to being top in high school and so I really struggled to catch up and the easiest thing for me to do was to drop it.  

“I felt embarrassed to put my hand up because I didn’t know the concept and typically I always had done and I felt like people would think I was stupid or I was lazy but really I was struggling to balance all of the plates.  

“For me that’s where it stems from. Going further forward, I gained the confidence and realised, actually, it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to learn this, I can still get it.”

Watch the full conversation here:

Love it or loathe it, everyone has something to say about maths and plenty of people will be joining Bobby, Katya and Jessica in nattering about numbers in May.

National Numeracy ambassadors will keep the numbers conversation going

Iona Bain will be taking part in a Big Number Natter with singer/songwriter and Dyscalculia Network supporter Mia Borthwick, where they will talk about their experiences of dyscalculia.  

Iona Bain will also be enjoying an exciting number-themed chat with mathematician Tom Crawford, AKA Tom Rocks Maths.  

Timi Merriman-JohnsonAKA Mr MoneyJar – will be hosting a special live event aimed at helping adults to manage their money.    

Jessica Gagen joins Dr Sheila Kanani MBE of the Royal Astronomical Society, for ‘Numbers In Space: Past and Future’, facilitated by Bobby Seagull. It’s a fascinating talk about the links between numbers and space, aimed at secondary school pupils.  

Peter Sawkins will be chatting to Emma, owner of Edinburgh business, Moo Pie Gelato, an ice cream shop. Together, Peter and Emma will talk about the importance of everyday numeracy and numeracy at work.  

Why not join them in having a Big Number Natter of your own with friends, family or colleagues? You may be surprised and find you’re not the only one who feels the way you do about numbers!