Benefits of Numeracy


Have a look at this link from the National Numeracy website:

This research finds that higher levels of numeracy are linked to better levels of income, employment and even health in later life, as this extract shows:

“The latest UKCES report showed that there is a rise in skills shortage vacancies associated with a lack of numeracy skills. Currently about 26% of skills shortage vacancies result from a lack of numeracy skills(2). This issue seems particularly relevant as one to address, given the current high rates of unemployment.

It is important to address this imbalance. Better numeracy will not only make Britain more internationally competitive, it will contribute to the well-being of the UK population. Parsons and Bynner (3) analysed the social and economic circumstances of the participants in the UK Cohort study and discovered that, in a number of ways, low numeracy is an especially strong predictor for long-term deprivation.

Roughly 2 in 5 people (36%) said that poor maths skills had in some way held them back in their daily life. This rose to 4 in 5 for those who rated their numeracy skills as “poor” or “very poor”. The other most common areas where people felt held back were in measuring and weighing (in cooking, DIY or administering medicine doses) and in understanding statistics in the media – about 1 in 10 of the overall survey group in each case.

1 in 5 (19%) of those unemployed had felt held back by maths when job-hunting.

3 in 10 of those who rated their skills as poor said it had affected their work.

Around 1 in 5 adults with children in their household had felt held back in helping children with school work.”

What also shocked me was the extent to which attitudes in the UK are negative towards maths and numeracy, with almost half of the population reporting that they think it’s socially acceptable to be bad at maths!

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments….

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2 Responses to Benefits of Numeracy

  1. Mr Cook says:

    A very thought provoking post, Kirsten.

    The Closing the Attainment Gap Report has highlighted the need to close the attainment gap in relation to deprivation.

    The Report can be found:

    We also have access to the Social Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) data by postcode. This website explains the indicators:

    You can also download tools to see the SIMD decile for the the postcodes in your school community. It’s interesting that the Scottish Summary of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) also measures against this. With the release of the 2014 Literacy Survey next week; I’m interested to see the findings.


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