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Everyday Maths project feeds into Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report

23 September 2014

On UN International Literacy Day (8 September), the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee published a report recommending the Government launch a high-profile campaign to tackle the alarmingly low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England.

In light of an OECD survey of 24 countries ranking England and Northern Ireland 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy, the Committee also calls for a more joined-up Government approach to tackling the problem, improved funding arrangements, and better assessment and support of the literacy and numeracy needs of unemployed people. The Committee found that adults struggling most at English and maths are not getting the help and support needed. While the Government pledges free training and tuition for any adult who wishes to study English and maths up to and including GCSE level, the Committee heard that adults with the most limited English and maths skills were not aware of the support available.

The Everyday Maths project is run by The Graduate School of Educations' Dr Tim Jay, Dr Jo Rose and Dr Ben Simmons and feeds into the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report 'HC 557'. A video version of the report can be viewed online and a PDF version is also available.

The Everyday Maths project has worked with parents of primary school children, to develop their confidence around supporting their children's mathematical learning. Parents are often not confident about helping their children with maths, either because they are not confident of their own maths knowledge, or unfamiliar with current methods used in schools, or unsure about acting as a "teacher" for their child. However, parents often use a wide range of informal mathematics in their everyday lives, but do not recognise it as such because it does not correspond to 'school maths'.

In the Everyday Maths project, parents attended workshops and explored the kinds of maths they used in their everyday lives, maths that was a part of activities that they did with their children, and ways of discussing this maths with their children. We will be running a seminar outlining how parents in the Everyday Maths project changed their thinking about maths over the course of the workshops, and how they worked together to develop new ways of interacting with their children about maths. At the seminar we will also launch our new publication for schools, families and policy makers which is based on the findings from the project. This project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Further information

Dr Tim Jay, Dr Jo Rose and Dr Ben Simmons will be presenting a seminar on the content and preliminary findings of the Everyday Maths project'It’s helping your child experience the world: How parents can use everyday activities to engage their children's mathematical learning' on 29 September, 5 pm to 6.30 pm in room 4.10.

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