Supporting Numeracy Skills
Numeracy is a life skill. Being numerate goes beyond simply 'doing sums'; it means having the confidence and competence to use numbers and think mathematically in everyday life.
Why is numeracy important?
Everyone needs to be numerate to maximise their life chances and to make a positive contribution to society.
The effect of poor numeracy on people’s lives is often much less obvious than poor literacy. But there is substantial evidence that low numeracy skills are associated with poor outcomes for many people. This has a negative impact on them and their families – and on society as a whole.
Examples of Numeracy
Being able to critically assess statistics used by advertisers or politicians.
Being able to manage family budgets – credit cards, offers at supermarkets and so on.
Being able to estimate – in all kinds of situations, e.g. journey speed, time and distance, roughly how much a bill will be or your expected bank balance at the end of the month.
What can parents/carers to do help their child with numeracy/maths?
The most important thing to do is help your child to feel positive about maths and have fun with it whenever possible. In the UK people are often negative about maths and this makes it harder for children to understand the reasons why we need to learn maths. Follow these top tips and help your child develop maths confidence.
Don’t say things like ‘I can’t do maths’ or ‘I hated maths at school’… your child might start to think like that themselves…
Do talk about the maths in everyday life, and ask your child how they work out problems or questions.
Do praise your child for effort, rather than talent.
Do use time at home to practise practical maths like shopping or cooking.
The other really important thing is to give your child the opportunity to use and talk about maths every day. This will help them to become a mathematical problem solver, and develop lifelong skills such as:
Measuring e.g. when cooking, decorating etc.
Using money e.g. splitting food bills, estimating total cost etc.
Calculating – adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing etc
Making sense of and checking information – learning to ask ‘is this answer sensible’?
Have a look at our image gallery highlighting some of this work.
MyMaths – Password available from any maths teacher
Mathwatch – Password available from any maths teacher
Mangahigh – Password available from any maths teacher
BBC Skills Wise