The National Numeracy Challenge was launched on 22 October at a reception at the House of Lords attended by 180 leading figures from business, education, politics and the voluntary sector. The charity, National Numeracy, plans to reach a million adults from 2013 to 2018, starting in the workplace. Government figures show that a staggering 17 million working age people in England have only primary school level maths skills.
The first phase of the Challenge will be a three-year collaborative project to improve work/life numeracy skills for 500,000 adults of working age in the UK by 2015. ForSkills have already laid the groundwork for the campaign by analysing numeracy assessments delivered by them from the beginning of this academic year. From over 100,000 assessments made during this period, ForSkills found that 36% of learners are Level 1 or lower in English compared to 74% in maths. In addition, the majority of learners are Level 2 in English compared to Level 1 in maths. Once the National Numeracy Challenge rolls out, a sophisticated online assessment tool created and developed by ForSkills will be central to the project.
SkillsBuilder from ForSkills is already the most widely-used assessment system within vocational learning and apprenticeship programmes. Using this single assessment platform will allow the collection, collation and analysis of reliable data on each learner’s progress. It will also give feedback on the project’s effectiveness and value for money, and influence the development of future education policy. SkillsBuilder will be available either through the National Numeracy Challenge website at www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk or through an employer or learning provider’s in-house system.
Carl Gibson, Commercial Director at ForSkills is delighted to be involved in such an important initiative, “The initial analysis work we carried out certainly highlighted the lack of functional numeracy skills coming through. With 17 million people in need of help, this is definitely a major undertaking. But the team at ForSkills will fully support the National Numeracy Challenge with the long-term commitment which will be necessary for success.”
The full National Numeracy press release may be read on their website here: http://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk