Strong numeracy skills help us to achieve at every stage of life

A news report shows a graph—what does it mean? You need to increase quantities for a recipe—how? At the supermarket, you only have £10 for your shopping—will this be enough?

As we move through life, we need numeracy skills to help us perform everyday tasks. At school, we study maths to prepare us for success in future life and in the workplace. Whether you dream of a career in healthcare or education, or of being a sports star or musician, you’ll need numeracy skills to succeed. Strong numeracy skills help us throughout our lives, opening the door to a wide range of career paths and higher wages.

Unfortunately, too many people do not have the necessary numeracy skills to fulfil their potential. In part, this is due to negative attitudes, whereby people believe that numeracy doesn’t matter, or is a subject that they will never be good at. When we promote positive attitudes to numbers, we can improve numeracy skills and everyone’s life chances!

Fast facts

  • 29% of 16-18 year olds and 25% of 19-24 year olds have the lowest level of numeracy.

  • Approximately five million adults lack the basic numeracy, reading and writing skills for success in everyday life.

  • 30% of people wrongly assume that maths is a skill you are born with, and not a skill that can be learnt.

  • People with poor numeracy skills are less likely to save money on day-to-day expenses, costing the individual an estimated £460 every year.

What can I do about innumeracy?

“I can’t do numbers!”

“There’s no point in maths!”

Have you ever said or heard these words? Maths is often taught as a right or wrong subject, leading many people to feel afraid of making mistakes. Fear of failure can cause anxiety around numbers, which often lasts into adulthood. Improving our nation’s numeracy starts with changing attitudes. When people believe they can learn numeracy skills, they are more likely to succeed. Plus, by understanding the value of numeracy, we can reframe numeracy as a skill for life, not just for school.

Challenge attitudes to numbers and shine the spotlight on numeracy by taking action with WE Need Numeracy.

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