Developing Numeracy

“Numeracy is confidence and competence with numbers and measures.”

National Numeracy Strategy

Numeracy is a life skill. At Tenbury High we believe that numeracy is crucial to student’s development and allows them to prepare themselves fully as future adults.

Research has shown that some 22% of 16- to 19-year-olds in England are functionally innumerate – meaning their maths skills are limited to little more than basic arithmetic, researchers from Sheffield University discovered. This means their numeracy levels are at or below an 11-year-old.

What does numeracy involve?

How is Maths used across subjects?

  • Understanding of the number system.
  • Ability to recall and use mathematical techniques correctly.
  • Ability to solve problems in a variety of contexts.
  • Understanding and interpretation of graphs, charts, tables and Mathematical diagrams.

What skills should a student have by the end of year 9?

  • Have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system
  • Recall mathematical facts confidently
  • Calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and with pencil and paper, drawing on a range of calculation strategies
  • Use proportional reasoning to simplify and solve problems
  • Use calculators and other ICT resources appropriately and efficiently to solve mathematical problems, and select from the display the number of figures appropriate to the context of a calculation
  • Use simple formulae and substitute numbers in them
  • Measure and estimate measurements, choosing suitable units, and reading numbers correctly from a range of meters, dials and scales
  • Calculate simple perimeters, areas and volumes, recognising the degree of accuracy that can be achieved
  • Understand and use measures of time and speed, and rates such as £ per hour or miles per litre
  • Draw plane figures to given specifications and appreciate the concept of scale in geometrical drawings and maps
  • Understand the difference between the mean, median and mode, and the purpose for which each is used collect data, discrete and continuous, and draw, interpret and predict from graphs, diagrams, charts and tables
  • Have some understanding of the measurement of probability and risk
  • Explain methods and justify reasoning and conclusions, using correct mathematical terms judge the reasonableness of solutions and check them when necessary
  • Give results to a degree of accuracy appropriate to the context.

How you can help your child at home

  • It is most important that you talk & listen to your child about their work in maths. It will help your child if they have to explain to you.
  • Share the maths activity with your child and discuss it with them.
  • Be positive about maths, even if you don’t feel confident about it yourself.
  • Remember, you are not expected to teach your child maths, but please share, talk and listen to your child.
  • If your child cannot do their homework do let the teacher know by either writing a note in your child’s book or telling the teacher.
  • A lot of maths can be done using everyday situations and will not need pencil and paper methods.
  • Play games and have fun with maths!

Some examples of how you can include mathematics at home

  • Shopping
  • Looking at prices
  • Calculating change – which coins, different combinations.
  • Weighing fruit and vegetables in the supermarket.
  • Counting pocket money.
  • Reading labels on bottles, packets, in order to discuss capacity, weight, shape and colour.
  • Estimating the final bill at the end of shopping while waiting at the cash out.
  • Calculating the cost of the family going to the cinema, swimming baths, etc.


  • Looking at the clock – identify the numbers telling the time using analogue and digital clocks.
  • Calculating how long a journey will take looking at train/bus/airline timetables.
  • Using TV guide to calculate the length of programmes.
  • Programming the oven or the microwave.
  • Looking at the posting times on the post box.
  • Discussing events in the day e.g. teatime, bed time, bath time.
  • Setting an alarm clock.