The report says that people’s poor numeracy is often not detected and that employers should recognise that some of the millions of people who struggle with numeracy may be in their own workplace. Poor maths skills among adults is now too big a problem to be left to the education and training system alone – and we have developed an alternative approach that we know can make a big difference to people’s confidence and competence with numbers. We now want to work with employers and others to embed the Essentials of Numeracy in their own organisations.
The report draws on a wide range of evidence, including a recent survey carried out for National Numeracy by YouGov and new research from the Money Advice Service (MAS).
The YouGov poll revealed that only one in six people (17%) were able to answer three simple numeracy questions accurately. MAS research to be published later this year will show how poor numeracy – independent of other factors including income – makes people less likely to save money and more likely to use credit badly.
Our alternative approach to improving numeracy was designed with maths specialists and presents an explicit, national focus on the ‘Essentials of Numeracy’, that is, the practical maths skills and understanding that everyone needs in order to cope with everyday life and to function well at work.
Our online tool, The National Numeracy Challenge, has had more than 100,000 registrations. It’s there to help people get a feel for their own numeracy level and it provides free resources to help them improve and get the Essentials of Numeracy.