What is numeracy?

Simply put, numeracy is the ability to understand in work with numbers.  It is often common to confuse numeracy as maths, when this is not the case.  Numeracy essentially involves being able to use and interpret numbers in our everyday lives to help us live.  This can include budgeting with money, understanding measurements when decorating a house, or interpreting graphs on the news.  These topics can cross over with mathematics; however, the subject of maths is really defined as the study and application of numbers.

What is its importance?

Just as it is essential to be literate in today’s society, it is equally as important to be numerate.  The skills required to be numerate are essential in an individual’s day to day life.  With technology expanding, most of these concepts are built from basic numerical ideas. A study shows that a higher understanding of numeracy positively correlates to employment and increased wages (National Numeracy, 2020). Other research explains from 2003-2011, the working age adults in the UK with the required level of Numeracy has dropped from 26% to just 22% (National Numeracy, 2020).  This is in comparison to literacy, where not only have their values increased, but are over 50%.

How can you help your child?

One of the biggest concepts before assisting your child with their numeracy is reflecting on your own attitude and experiences with numbers.  Often when a parent or guardian has a negative approach to numeracy and maths, this is directly reflected on the child causing them to have the same ideas from as young as six years old.  This in turn can cause the pupil to have predisposed ideas of numbers even before a majority of their school career!  There are websites available to adults to help with numeracy skills and can be found in the resources below.  It is essential when helping a child through number questions to have a positive outlook and assist wherever possible.

Talk to your children about the difficulties they face with numerical problems.  Is there an area which they try to avoid, is there a topic they consistently get confused, or do they get mixed up often with money?  Having a conversation about numbers with them and you may be surprised what they say.  The conversation can even lead into where it is important in our lives and where it is essential in our careers.

To be numerate will not happen overnight.  In comparison to literacy, a child must learn words, sentences, to read, and mature their reading age in order to become literate!  The same works with numeracy, start with the basics and then progress to problems and real-life application of numbers.  The best way to increase numeracy in a child is consistent repetition and practice.  This does not mean a child needs to practice numerical problems every day for multiple hours a day.  Instead it is incorporating it into a variety of areas in your child’s life to help build their understanding.  For example, two days a week they may have a small set of questions to complete from a number of different topics, which you check their working and understanding with them.  Another time you could discuss offers at the shop and which items are best to buy.  If the opportunity arises to explain diagrams online or in the newspaper we help the child interpret what is being displayed to us!  Even if you are cooking dinner you explain the quantities of the recipe and how we double or triple it when cooking for more people.  Numeracy is involved in every aspect of our lives! It is bringing these to the surface for our children to see and understand which will help them grow into brilliant young individuals.

Tackling Numeracy at All Saints

Here at All Saints there are a number of different approaches taken to help your child develop their numeracy skills.  Firstly, students are assessed on their skill of answering basic numeracy questions.  These involve money, tables/charts, measurements, and worded problems.  This helps identify specific students who require additional support with their numeracy as well as major gaps of understanding in our year groups and school.  This is used as a guide when implementing different numeracy projects around the school.


Weekly Numeracy Challenges are administered to pupils across the whole school.  These allow students to attempt to solve problems in a low-risk environment outside of the maths classroom. Challenges often change with themes in the calendar, including Black History Month, current news events, etc.  Having the challenges administered by a range of teachers in the school allows students to see staff other than the maths department, getting involved and trying to answer the questions.

Individual intervention is given to a small group of pupils who require additional support.  This one-on-one time allows for students to work through problems with individual support and tackle any misconceptions the pupil may have.

NOTE: Interventions have changed due to the recent climate of COVID-19 and are taking place where possible, following correct guidelines.

For students who are looking to extend their understanding of numeracy further, there is a select group of students who represent this area called the Numeracy Ambassadors.  They are given challenge problems to challenge and stretch their thinking, as well as assist peers who require support.  Ambassadors also help represent numeracy when special activities occur. If your child is interested in becoming a numeracy ambassador, they should speak with Miss Iacoviello. 

NOTE: Numeracy Ambassador delivery has changed due to the recent climate of COVID-19 and is taking place where possible, following correct guidelines.

As there is overlap within the idea of numeracy and Maths, the Maths Department makes sure to consistently develop pupils’ numeracy skills.  This can take place in their “Take Ten Activity” or discussing where these topics will be used outside the classroom.  Conversations are being had to connect these ideas outside of school and where they will benefit our pupils in life.

If you have any additional questions about support or guidance for your child, please do not hesitate to contact Miss A. Iacoviello –


Resources are provided below for further support:

National Numeracy is an extensive website into information surrounding Numeracy in the UK.  They have resources for adults and children, as well as study showing extensive research on the importance of Numeracy.

National Numeracy Challenge is an extension of National Numeracy.  This is designed for adults to test their own personal skills.

Following the CorbettMaths link will lead you to five a day.  Five questions for every day of the year for pupils to complete.  Make sure to choose Numeracy from the selection on the date.  Solutions also included.