Fact sheet

National Numeracy Challenge

We use numbers in our daily lives, often without even realising it.  We need number skills to check that we’ve been given the right change or to buy the right amount of ingredients to cook a meal, just as much as to check our bank statement or work out a monthly household budget before applying for a mortgage.

Statistics from the charity National Numeracy, show that 17 million adults in the UK - that’s almost half of the working age population - have number skills at the same level as those expected of children leaving primary school.  Since 2003 number skills in the UK have actually got worse.

According to other figures from National Numeracy, poor adult number skills could cost the UK economy £20 billion a year with more than one in three adults feeling held back by poor numeracy in daily life. 

This is why National Numeracy has initiated a UK-wide challenge to improve the confidence and competence of adults in maths.  The aim is to reduce the number of adults with poor numeracy skills by one million over the next five years.

The National Numeracy Challenge was launched on World Maths Day, 12 March 2014, and is a call to action for everyone:  Individuals, employees in the workplace, those in adult education and community organisations.

If you are interested in knowing more or know someone who is, more detail about the challenge and a host of helpful resources can be found here

Or if you’d like to take the challenge you can access it here.  All responses are anonymous.


Hilary McVitty

Head of External Affairs

Tel: 0207 520 5926 hilary.mcvitty@bsa.org.uk