Our first year and the year ahead

Achievements in 2012

Establishment and launch

  • The media launch of National Numeracy took place on 1 March and attracted wide interest.
  • Highlighted the state of numeracy, drawing attention to the Skills for Life survey, which showed that nearly 17 million adults in England had numeracy skills roughly equivalent to those expected of children at primary school.
  • Commissioned and published a YouGov poll on public attitudes to numeracy.


External relationships and communications

  • Developed links at Westminster with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education and started to make contact with officials in the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland.
  • Our role and purpose was acknowledged during an Education Questions session in the House of Commons in October.
  • Established wide-ranging contacts in the education, academic and business sectors, winning recognition for the importance of the cause and the role of the organisation.
  • Took part in a range of relevant conferences and seminars and commented on significant external developments, such as the Ofsted report on school maths, the review of the National Curriculum, and, at the end of 2012, the publication of the full Skills for Life report.
  • Continued to build relations with the media, attracting print, broadcast and online coverage, promoting the importance of everyday maths skills, challenging negative attitudes and beginning to establish National Numeracy as the ‘go-to’ body for comment on numeracy.
  • In October held a very successful reception at the House of Lords.
  • Towards the end of the year, National Numeracy joined a partnership of organisations taking part in Maths4us, an initiative to improve adults’ maths skills, led by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.


Practical projects

  • National Numeracy Challenge: This is a five-year project aimed at helping one million adults to improve their numeracy skills. Working with employers, colleges and other training providers and ‘outreach’ organisations, the Challenge will support and encourage adults to assess their numeracy and then suggest tailored programmes of learning for those who need to improve their skills.
  • Raising Achievement: A three-year project to maintain the engagement and progress in maths of children aged seven to nine. Research has established that this is a stage when children often lose interest and fail to make progress.
  • ‘Have a Go’ stand at The Skills Show: We challenged young people to take part in cycling and Olympic-themed activities, encouraging them to understand how numeracy and mathematics skills can be applied to a range of different situations and how – as with athletics – improvement can be achieved with persistence and effort.



  • Increased the range of research findings from National Numeracy are now available, highlighting new evidence as it emerged in the UK and overseas, thus starting to build a comprehensive database of information on the issue and on effective approaches.
  • Developed the beginnings of our Essentials of Numeracy model which defines the mathematical understanding and skills that everyone needs for everyday numeracy.


Plans for 2013

  • Pilot and roll-out of the National Numeracy Challenge: we will complete the development of the online assessment and diagnostic material and linked learning resources within the first half of 2013. These will be piloted with a small number of employers, colleges or other learning providers and outreach organisations. The aim is to reach 15,000 in the pilot phase. Lessons learnt and feedback from users will inform the wider roll-out of the National Numeracy Challenge later in the year.
  • Scope out Challenge for parents: we will begin to outline a project designed specifically to engage parents and build positive attitudes to maths. This may be aligned to the National Numeracy Challenge.
  • Complete work on the Essentials of Numeracy for All: with support from our working group, we will complete the detailed development of the ‘essentials’ model. This will inform the online materials within the National Numeracy Challenge and we aim to establish it as a widely accepted template for the numeracy skills and understanding needed by everyone.
  • Assess public attitudes to numeracy: we are repeating the survey of public opinion commissioned in 2012, with any necessary variations to reflect recent developments. We intend to survey public opinion annually, in order to monitor any changes in public attitude to numeracy.
  • Continue with Raising Achievement project: we will extend the project into further schools in north London and begin to disseminate evidence of effective ways of maintaining children’s progress in maths in Years 3 and 4 in primary schools (age 7-9 years).
  • Extend National Numeracy’s influence: we aim further to strengthen our links with stakeholders in education and business, government and politics, and to build our media presence, thus extending awareness of the cause and beginning to influence national policy on numeracy.
  • Win support from ambassadors: we aim to identify the role and potential contribution of high-profile ambassadors or champions, in order to spread the numeracy message to new audiences.
  • Widen our support base: we aim to attract new support and funding for National Numeracy so that we can grow the organisation and build its activity.