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What do the salsa and a soggy bottom have in common? Find out on National Numeracy Day.

11 May 2021

On Wednesday 19 May, Strictly dancer Katya Jones, Bake Off 2020 winner Peter Sawkins and World Slam poetry champ Harry Baker are among the stars helping charity National Numeracy boost the nation’s number confidence.

Katya Jones

The celebrities have one thing in common: using numbers and everyday maths in in everything they do. And to prove it, they have created some extra special activities to get the UK dancing, baking and rapping along with them on National Numeracy Day.

TV stars Rachel Riley and Bobby Seagull, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, and Olympic champion and Santander Ambassador, Dame Jesscia Ennis-Hill, are all taking part in the day, which features live online events with celebrities and experts, inspirational videos and helpful resources, all available for free,  on the National Numeracy Day website.

National Numeracy Day is all about empowering adults and children to improve their confidence and competence with numbers in three key areas of their lives: for supporting children; finding a job and getting on at work; and managing your money. 

Katya said: “I use numbers when I choreograph and dance, but like everyone else, I need them in my everyday life too. I have always looked at numbers as an exciting game, to me they are magical and playful! And it’s so important to foster this positive mindset with our children, to spark bigger and better opportunities for them in the big, wide world. I can’t wait to bring some sparkle to National Numeracy Day and show everyone how rewarding numbers can be!"

As well as Katya’s dance challenge, you can have a go at a cupcake bake with Peter and rapping with Harry, as well as school picture competition with Bobby and kids Breakfast Club with Rachel, who will also show you how to improve your numeracy in just 10 minutes a day with the free National Numeracy Challenge.

Bobby's School Number Heroes competition, is encouraging primary school kids to let their imaginations run wild with pictures for their number-related jobs and hobbies. The winner gets a numeracy prize pack worth £1,000 for their school - provided by National Numeracy and National Numeracy Day founding supporter KPMG – as well as a £50 gift voucher for themselves and a digital school assembly with Bobby! 

Andy Haldane, Vice-chair of National Numeracy and Chief Economist at the Bank of England said: “National Numeracy Day is becoming a fixture in our calendars - a chance to raise awareness of and, most importantly, tackle the crisis in confidence suffered by many millions of people across UK when it comes to numbers.  This problem is hiding in plain sight, blighting lives and livelihoods in every corner of the UK and every day of our lives.   National Numeracy points the way forward when solving this problem for good.”

Sam Sims, Chief Executive of National Numeracy, said: “National Numeracy Day 2021 is going to be our biggest celebration yet of the power and importance of improving your number confidence and skills – for all aspects of your life at home, work and school. Whether you want to become more confident with numbers to get a new job, make your money go further, or support your children with their maths homework, getting on with numbers can help you achieve these goals. So, please join us for the live events and have fun with the free activities!”

Bina Mehta, Chair of KPMG UK, the founding supporter of National Numeracy Day, said: “Good maths skills are vital to all of us, whether you are working in finance or simply navigating life’s daily challenges, like managing your own money. KPMG has been the founding supporter of National Numeracy Day since 2018, recognising the growing need to bolster confidence with numbers and the role it plays in promoting social mobility. We want to debunk the myth that if you are ‘bad with numbers’ you can’t improve. We should never shy away from lifelong learning and I urge anyone who isn’t confident in their maths ability to go online and try the National Numeracy Challenge tool to help improve your everyday maths.”

As a nation, numeracy levels are significantly below the average for developed countries. It is no wonder people feel anxious about dealing with numbers: 49% of the UK’s working-age population has the expected numeracy levels of a primary school child, and just a fifth have the equivalent numeracy level of a GSCE pass (Grade 4).

Struggling with numbers can make people more vulnerable to debt, unemployment, poor health and fraud and impacts mental health and opportunities - all exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.  And it costs the UK economy a staggering £25 billion a year.

But everyone can improve their numeracy and anxiety about maths can be overcome. We have all the top tips to get you started with three live streamed events on 19 May – covering the topics of work, money, and supporting children. 

National Numeracy Day Event Schedule for 19 May
No registration is required - just watch and join in via National Numeracy Day web page and our social media channels 

7.30am: Breakfast Club - our celebrities launch the day with activities for children 
Have breakfast with our celebrity ambassadors and find out about all the Numeracy Day activities and challenges they’ve created to get children across the UK having fun and thinking differently about numbers. 

10.30am: Work it! How to use numbers to supercharge your job search and career
How boosting number confidence can help you get the job you want and get on in the job you have. 

1pm: Hated homeschool maths? How to help children love numbers (even if you don’t)
Celebrities, experts, teachers and parents share their experiences and tips on how to help your children learn to love numbers – even if you don’t feel confident about them yourself. 

2.30pm: Money and confidence: Tips to make your money go further
How building number confidence can help you get on top of your finances, change the way you spend and plan for the future. 

6pm: Katya, Bobby & Harry’s National Numeracy Day Afterparty
Join Katya Jones, Bobby Seagull, Harry Baker and friends for all the chat, gossip and tips as they wrap up National Numeracy Day with an online after party on Katya's Instagram account. Everyone's invited!

Media contact:
Julia Day, External Relations Director
 [email protected]   
Notes to editors:
About National Numeracy Day  
National Numeracy Day is the UK’s only day dedicated to everyday maths. It aims is to inspire everyone to have the confidence and skills to work with, and understand numbers, so they can get on in life. One simple step is to try the National Numeracy Challenge. The campaign is run by the UK charity National Numeracy with the campaign’s founding supporter KPMG. 

National Numeracy Day Supporters 
National Numeracy Day is supported by an ever-growing list of organisations who believe in improving the nation’s numeracy

About National Numeracy  
National Numeracy is a charity dedicated to helping people feel confident with numbers and using everyday maths. Our mission is to empower children and adults in the UK to get on with numbers so they can fulfil their potential at work, home and school. Our work improves how people understand and work with numbers in everyday life, sparking better opportunities and brighter futures. National Numeracy is a registered company (company no: 7886294) and charity (charity no: 1145669).