Monday, 23 April 2012

National Numeracy (3)

So what about the largest group of people in this country who have low numeracy skills - adults. According to recent data there are over 17 million adults with low numeracy skills in this country. Well, so what if you can't add up there is always a calculator and who needs algebra anyway?

If only it were so simple. Low numeracy skills are reflected in lower salaries, poorer health, an increased likelihood of ending up in prison and an overall cost to the country of £10 billion. We have seen a rise in personal debt over the past few years and perhaps if better information on how high interest rates impact on the ability to pay back we may have fewer people in debt right now.

A few years ago we ran a learndirect centre in Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. The courses were excellent but the strategy was statistics-led rather than trying to raise the numeracy skills of the people who most needed it. I always felt that we were not really addressing the problem of re-engaging the adult who was marked as a failure at school. As a consequence these people ended up in low-grade jobs and often felt trapped when redundancy loomed and they were unable to meet the requirements of the labour market. Add into that the age factor and the problem was exacerbated. The people who came into our centre were only the small minority often at the top end of the scale. We need to reach out to those people who find it very difficult to cross the threshol of an educational institute.

I reiterate my offer of free numeracy classes to any adult who wishes to improve their skills up to GCSE level. Don't be nervous call 01638 660044 or 01284 706070 and I will offer free advice.

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