National Crisis

Innumeracy costs the UK £20.2 Billion per year; 17 million adults (nearly half of the adult population) have numeracy at/below primary school level.

The Department for Education said it was a “national scandal” that almost half the adult population have poor numeracy skills as Britain sinks bottom of the developed world for numeracy. 

There is substantial evidence that low numeracy skills are associated with poor outcomes:

  • Employment
    People with poor numeracy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed
  • Wages
    Recent data by the OECD show a direct relationship between wage distribution and numeracy skills
  • Health
    In OECD and UK basic skills reports, the correlation between poor numeracy and poor health is clear; data from the British Cohort Studies have shown that there is also a link between depression and poor numeracy
  • Social, emotional and behavioural difficulties
    Children with these problems are more likely to struggle with numeracy, even taking into account factors such as home background and general ability
  • School exclusions
    Pupils beginning secondary school with very low numeracy skills but good literacy skills have an exclusion rate twice that of pupils starting secondary school with good numeracy skills
  • Truancy
    14-year-olds who have poor maths skills at 11 are more than twice as likely to play truant
  • Crime
    A quarter of young people in custody have a numeracy level below that expected of a 7-year-old, and 65% of adult prisoners have numeracy skills at or below the level expected of an 11-year-old.

(Source: National Numeracy)

Poor numeracy is also a problem in its own right. It can affect people’s confidence and self-esteem. Research from a review of adult up-skilling in numeracy by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has demonstrated that improving numeracy directly contributes to growth in personal and social confidence.

Posted in Math.

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