The Importance of Numeracy

Last month our blog was about literacy, you can read it here , and this month we will be talking about an equally important topic – numeracy. We will cover what numeracy is, why students are falling behind, why numeracy is so important and some ways to improve numeracy skills for both adults and children.

Numeracy isn’t about working out long equations in your head or multiplying huge sums without a calculator. Numeracy is being able confidently calculate a small percentage while shopping, measuring a room for new furniture, giving out correct change to a customer, interpreting charts and diagrams, solving problems and making decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning. The list can go on and on.

Many students don’t like maths, and many don’t see the ‘point’ of it. Maths has been disliked by students, it seems, since the beginning of time. This negative attitude towards maths is perhaps one of reasons why young people don’t do well in numeracy. Hearing things like ‘I hated maths in school’ from parents or guardians can have a strong impact on young people’s perception of maths. In England 49% of adults have the numeracy skills of a primary school student, thus negative words about maths are quite likely to fall upon young, impressionable ears.

The low levels of numeracy proficiency mean that many adults lose out on job opportunities, may struggle with finance and general day-to-day tasks that require numeracy, and the adults that struggle with numeracy themselves will be unable to help their children with homework.

What can we do to support children with their numeracy skills?

Consistent practice and having good foundation knowledge is key to efficient, lifelong numeracy skills. Once a child starts falling behind in the early stages of their numeracy journey, the likelihood is that they will continue falling behind. Therefore it’s best to support children with numeracy from a young age.

Doing even 15 minutes a day of simple sums or timetables practice with your child can make a difference. Make sure to be patient when working with your child, and remain positive during the studying as to not put off your child from working together again. If you are concerned about your child’s numeracy level then perhaps speaking to the school would be a good starting point – there is often help schools can offer!

The National Numeracy foundation offers many free resources, and promotes ‘help yourself to help others’, so if your numeracy skills aren’t up to scratch then remember it’s never too late to learn! There are also numeracy and problem solving apps, as well as free tutorials on YouTube, so there are plenty of options to do some work by yourself. However, should you rather to work with someone’s help then why not find a tutor with us at Cardiff and Vale Tutors? Many talented, experienced, friendly and knowledgeable maths tutors work with us, and our tutors can work with people of all ages and can work to whichever level is required.


This blog is written by our GCSE & A level English tutor, Aleksandra Dul

Photo is by Max Fischer

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