Mathematics is the music of reason. -James Joseph Sylvester
My involvement in various maths hubs in the U.K allows me to interact with maths teachers from different schools (primary and secondary). From these interactions, we share best practices on the teaching of mathematics. One of the questions I get asked by numeracy coordinators from other schools is, what practical ideas could I give them to implement numeracy across the curriculum. This question is not always easy to answer as having tried several things over the years, you then realise that some are just gimmicks but some have a real impact.
One of the roles I play at my school involves getting people to love, or at least appreciate, maths and numbers. This often involves a range of things from leading whole staff numeracy training to having students complete numeracy challenges in their various Tutor/Form time or getting business professionals to speak to our students.
Indeed, there can be no denial of the importance and the urgency of having a more numerate society, and schools play a big role here.
According to a report launched at the Bank of England in November 2019 – Building a numerate nation: confidence, belief and skills –
“millions of adults lack basic numeracy skills, leaving them unprepared for the workplace and everyday life.”
I always believed that numeracy needed a better and bigger push in schools but, I was so shocked when I read the findings of this report (link to report attached here):
Two of the key findings in the report are
1. “A quarter of adults have ‘acceptable’ levels of numeracy, with around half at the level expected of a primary school child.
2. Business leaders significantly undervalued the cost of poor numeracy to the UK, estimating a cost of £7 million per week vs the actual £388 million.”
So, what can WE (ME and YOU) do to help?
One of my favourite Jamaican expression comes to mind:
“EVERY MICKLE MEK A MUCKLE”
This means that when every small act or small steps are combined, together these can make a big impact.
So, first save the date: 19th May 2021
this year my school will be joining and actively taking part in the National Numeracy Day Champion on 19th May 2021 and we will be using the amazing and fun resources that they sent to us once we registered – all completely FREE.
Link to register:
I am encouraging as many of you as possible, (individually or as a school) especially if you are teaching in the U.K. to join in! If you are not in the U.K, please try to register and complete the challenge in your schools where ever you are in the world – let me know if you are unable to sign up and I will try to help.
If you are not a maths teacher then please share this with your school’s maths department numeracy coordinator or HOD or YOU could champion it!
p.s. As an individual (whether or not you are a teacher), you can complete the Numeracy Challenge or the Essentials of Numeracy and will get a certificate.
Let’s help to improve numeracy across our schools GLOBALLY!