Plans unveiled to enable Loughborough to become a ‘Maths Confident’ town

National Numeracy Day 2019 takes place today to celebrate the importance of numbers in everyday life

As National Numeracy Day takes place today, Wednesday 15th May 2019, plans have been unveiled locally to make Loughborough a place where more people are ‘maths confident’.

Research shows that nationally 50% of the working-age population only have the everyday maths skills that we expect of primary age school children.  Low numeracy costs the UK economy around £20billion a year.  Good numeracy skills are one of the key building blocks of social mobility – enhancing job prospects, reducing debt and improving mental health.

Local MP, Nicky Morgan, has been working with Loughborough University, Loughborough College, local schools and local industry to explore how our corner of Leicestershire can be ready to respond to the current and future demands of our education system and employers.

The Government’s Industrial Strategy identifies the industries and sectors which the UK can take an international lead in, and which will provide the jobs of the future. Building on this the Loughborough Area of Innovation https://www.lboro.ac.uk/enterprise/lai/ sets out how Loughborough can be ready for these challenges.  Having skilled people who are confident about their maths skills will be an important part of this.

Nicky Morgan said, “I know that our schools and colleges locally are teaching maths to a higher level than ever. But anxiety and ambivalence about maths is still too widespread. The facts around National Numeracy Day tell us that only a quarter of working-aged adults are functionally numerate.  This means, for example, that 20million people are financially vulnerable because of their poor numeracy skills.

“I want employers to know that if they are based here they are going to great employees and I think the national Industrial Strategy needs to say more about the investment we are making in our people.

“By working together our University, College, schools and industry can help to build a ‘maths confident’ town. We hope more people will want to get involved locally and would ask them to contact me and my office if they’d like to support this programme.

Tracy Bhamra, Pro Vice-Chancellor Enterprise at Loughborough University said “Skills are crucial for delivering the Industrial Strategy and for us the Loughborough Area of Innovation is a significant step towards this. Because of this we are launching the Maths Education Network in September 2019 which will provide a programme of Continuing Professional Development aimed at teachers to help support them to deliver the Maths curriculum”

The plans to build Loughborough’s ‘Maths Confidence’ so far include mapping all the current work going on between the University, College and local schools, extra access to the Maths Education Centre at Loughborough University, working with local companies such as 3M and national schemes such as Maths4Girls, holding lectures and workshops for all ages and building more online resources so people can test their skills and learn in a way which suits them.