Being numerate means having the confidence and skill to use numbers and mathematical approaches in all aspects of life – at work; in practical everyday activities at home and beyond; as consumers; in managing our finances; as parents helping our children learn; as patients making sense of health information and as citizens understanding the world about us.
Numeracy complements literacy and is sometimes called ‘mathematical literacy’. Both skills are needed in order to function fully in modern life.
Being numerate means being able to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts and to apply these in a range of contexts and to solve a variety of problems. Being numerate is as much about thinking and reasoning logically as about ‘doing sums’.
It means being able to:
Interpret data, charts and diagrams
Understand and explain solutions
Make decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning.
Numeracy involves skills that are sometimes not adequately learnt in the classroom – the ability to use numbers and solve problems in real life.
Numeracy is a basic life skill without which individuals will struggle in and beyond school. Only 22% of the population are level 2 or above in Numeracy.
Adults with low levels of numeracy are twice as likely to be unemployed.
Understanding mathematical information used for different purposes and can independently select and compare relevant information from a variety of graphical, numerical and written material.
Adults with skills below Level 2 may not be able to compare products and services for the best buy, or work out a household budget.
Poor learning experiences and fear of getting the ‘wrong’ answer contribute to the negative impression many adults have of mathematics. Problems can be created if these views are passed on to pupils by staff or parents.
In St Richard’s Catholic College, our Numeracy Strategy aims to tackle these issues by
Changing the perception of mathematics in the school and community
Maths in Action Week takes place in early February or March each year.
The aims of the week are to:
Promote mathematics to all pupils across St Richard’s Catholic College.
Involve all years in taking part in activities that provide engaging and enriching experiences of mathematics.
Highlight the importance of mathematics across the curriculum and the world itself.
Encourage those able, to continue into further and higher education with their mathematical studies.
Promote further study in mathematics to girls.
Providing CPD for teachers on teaching methods of numeracy
INSET sessions are used to focus on correct methods of calculating using the four operations. This avoids variation of teaching methods and gives teachers more confidence to teach the mathematics involved in their own subject.
Improve written methods of calculating across the curriculum
Pupils are encouraged to use the correct methods for calculating with and without a calculator. Estimating is encouraged throughout their problem solving across the curriculum.
In both Key Stages, some pupils have up to two timetabled Numeracy lessons. These sessions allow for extra work on using the four operations and using and applying the mathematical skills they learn in the classroom.
Specialist teachers and Teaching Assistants produce personalised games and activities to engage those struggling to access everyday tasks.