A recent UK Government survey showed that almost half of working age not have the maths skills we need to be able be on top of the challenges of everyday life. We have developed a national culture that we are no good as a nation at maths and that’s just how it is. So – does it matter?

Without good maths we struggle with much of what we are bombarded with in our lives. For example:

The impact of poor maths

  • Difficulties understanding payslips
  • Managing money in difficult times –e.g. coping with pay freezes and rising bills
  • Getting into problems with loans especially pay day loans
  • Understanding the statistics that politicians bombard us with so we can challenge them
  • Converting from imperial to metric
  • Converting to and from currencies – Euros, Rupees etc. into pounds sterling
  • Managing redundancy payments
  • Managing welfare benefits with changes in Universal Credit
  • Understanding pensions
  • DIY– buying too many tiles, too much paint and wallpaper etc.

What are the barriers?

  • Making time to learn
  • Fear of failure
  • Time to access courses – shift patterns , caring responsibilities etc.
  • Negative school experiences

What can you do?

Create a positive maths culture – far too many of us remember a bad experience of maths at school. Adult maths learning is a million miles away from those experiences – the focus is on developing maths skills in practical contexts.

Remind ourselves that we deal with maths all the time in our daily lives – it’s just when we hit something we think we can’t do that we think we are no good at maths!

Unionlearn have got bags of free resources to support ULRs and learners to be more maths confident.

Find out about and join in the national Numeracy Challenge. Take the Challenge yourself to see what it is all about –

Quick Maths Menus

Quick Maths Menus are a set of leaflets that look like takeaway menus but have easily digestible maths activities. The leaflets have been designed for union learning reps to use and have space to add contact details. –

These are on offer in the takeaway menus:

  • Payday maths
  • Computer bytes
  • Energy Managing
  • Time in life and work
  • Medicines and maths
  • Olympic legacy
  • Plain Maths Cards

Little pocket sized cards to act as reminders about things like:

  • The language of maths – divide, multiply, percentages etc.
  • Averages – the mean, mode and median
  • Measures, shapes and space
  • Facing Up to Maths

If you are a ULR this is a really useful and practical booklet with case studies, activities and games for you to dip into so you can get your workmates interested in learning maths

See more at:

Improve your functional skill in maths for Free with NCCP

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