Workplace maths challenge aims to boost numeracy

 
Calculator National Numeracy wants employers to help staff improve their maths skills

Related Stories

Employers are being asked to help workers boost their numeracy skills amid fears that poor maths is blighting Britain's economic performance.

The charity, National Numeracy, plans to reach a million adults over a five-year period, starting in the workplace.

Government figures show 17 million working age people in England have only primary school level maths skills.

Chris Humphries of National Numeracy said action was "urgently needed if the UK is not to sink further behind".

The campaigners say they want to raise the skills of all employees to at least the standard expected of 14-year-olds though some firms may decide that the equivalent of a good GCSE might be a better target.

'Radical move'

Mr Humphreys said: "All employers know what a massive problem we have with numeracy in this country.

"We are asking them and their employees to commit time and effort to doing something about it. This is a radical move... poor numeracy is a blight on an individual's life chances and we believe that employees will be as keen as their employers to improve their skills."

The charity was set up in March to combat the UK's low levels of numeracy and negative attitudes to maths. It highlighted government figures showing that more than eight million adults had only the skills expected of seven to nine-year-olds or younger.

From next spring employers will be asked to sign up to the National Numeracy Challenge. The charity is working on developing a cheap, online tool to give each employee a personal numeracy diagnosis.

A spokeswoman for National Numeracy said she expected the test to cost no more than a couple of pounds for each employee. She added that the bigger challenge would be to persuade some smaller firms to give their staff time off to take maths courses: "Some get it, some don't."

'Economic necessity'

She pointed out that a more numerate workforce was in the interests of both workers and bosses and should not be related to performance review.

The scheme has drawn support from both business organisations and unions with the Confederation of British Industry, Unionlearn, and Business in the Community all involved in its development.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said it was crucial that employers signed up: "I know many businesses are already doing so, it is important that we all - employers, trade unions, government and individual adults take the responsibility to meet this challenge.

"Poor numeracy isn't just a moral imperative, it is an economic necessity."

Dr Susan Pember, an official with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, called the launch a timely initiative and said it was vital to get to adults in the workplace who often did not realise how poor their numeracy skills were.

National Numeracy plans ultimately to extend the scheme to improve maths standards among people not in employment or education.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 231.

    203.anotherfakename
    @180. swerdna
    "I'd love to know your source, never heard or seen what you describe. Infant schools rarely make any trips"
    I make many comments on this forum regarding infant education. All are based on (despairing) comments that I get from a teacher at a school in a nearby town. This school tries even though attempts are blocked by poor parents & an awful education system.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 230.

    School teaching is one-size-fits-all with the the brighter pupils held back to the pace of the slowest.

    Examinations have been dumbed-down to allow 50% of candidates to obtain university places.

    Anyone with an interest in maths, science or engineering rather than soaps and celebs has to contend with snide remarks about geeks and nerds from the media.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 229.

    re 135, thats right I could have done but then Im a law abiding person, You , and the 3 likes, sound like the AH that ran onto the pitch and punched the goalkeeper and think its a good laugh, well I hope you get clobbered as well.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 228.

    I find mathematics easy. I'm unemployed though. How do you explain that?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 227.

    We send the countries children to university, in my case I did a Science subject. Then we pay them poorly, plus companies allow people to do the quaility testing who are not even scientifically trained. So this ends up being one big waste of money.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 226.

    Bring back Jonny Ball. He made maths interesting for many.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 225.

    you can take a child to lessons but you can't make him think.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 224.

    There are so many misconceptions about teaching being put forward on here that it is easy to see those without any real knowledge of the situation; i.e. most of you.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 223.

    @194. The Bloke
    The numeracy teaching methods are poor. My son was taught at least 7 different methods for multiplication. 6 by the school and 1 by myself. Only 1 was able to multiply ANY 2 numbers, and that was the one I had been taught by my dad as a kid. The school told my son he did it wrong - so I showed them where their methods failed. They told me they were told 'how and what to teach'

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 222.

    judging by the content of the comments on here, english lessons would not go amiss either

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 221.

    218.CorNetherlands - "There are only 10 kind of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't...."


    I'm not sure what you mean - could you repeat that in base 8 please?!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 220.

    198. Britainsnotpleased
    Once the probation and training records have been signed then any training problems are the fault of the employer.
    --
    OK, I agree with that. I've been involved with the time consuming retraining of a staff member and later disciplinary route after they'd initially been deemed competent. Mistakes in their work, not following procedures. Harmful to business and stressful.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 219.

    I remember in the 80's wonding why we needed to learn Maths. It was never explained WHY we needed to know the hypoteneus etc. I got a shock when I started work. Do they make it more accessible nowadays? Make it real-world and the pupils will hopefully take notice. Explain why a joiner need to know angles, or a brickie or decorator need to know how to calcluate areas.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 218.

    There are only 10 kind of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't....

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 217.

    Math permeates through all subjects, yet in schools all subjects are taught as independent of it.

    If they increased the math content of syllabus for the sciences, geography, sport, etc... then maybe kids would realize they actually need it.

    They make too much effort to ensure these subjects are 'accessible' to those that struggle with maths giving the false impression its not necessary!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 216.

    Government figures show 17 million working age people in England have only primary school level maths skills.
    Really?
    Prove it.
    What is the basis for this claim?
    Another survey?
    Yet another unsubstantiated claim to hit teachers with.

    And from the comments on here, I can see it is working.
    And A level maths now is not like O level maths of 30 years ago. Anyone who states that is a liar.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 215.

    Standards nowadays are declining at an alarming rate. I was in a class with the lowest Maths group in our year doing a test I missed through illness. Some of the questions they were asked included "what is 100+65?" and some still couldn't do it. I also know people my age (16) who cannot read a clock (I taught myself aged 3). Unfortunately, this will continue until the parents step in I'm afraid.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 214.

    Yes I agree the recent fiasco over railway tenders where ministers and civil service admit to getting their figures wrong just goes to prove our numeracy is lacking maybe MPs should take a maths test before being elected so such an expensive mistake does not happen again

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 213.

    With Numeracy and Literacy abilities dropping all the time, it's a wonder the public can still see through the lies, misdirection and economic policies that just don't add up. A bit of history wouldn't go amiss, if only to avoid the introduction of the Gleichshaltung Laws into UK legislation (along with the accompanying political shift) Let's just bring back the Poor House too.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 212.

    People are getting worse with maths these days because they think that numbers are something that you use to communicate with, not calculate with.
    Text speak can also explain why the so many seem to also be illiterate these days.

    n0 w0t 1 m34n? 1t5 b4d 4 teh UK!

 

Page 8 of 19

 

More Education & Family stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.