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Making Maths Count

Published: 18 Mar 2016 11:45
Part of:
Education

Group set up to transform public attitudes to maths publishes interim report.

Thousands of Scots have shared their thoughts about maths as part of a programme to improve skills and numeracy by creating greater enthusiasm for the subject.

The interim report from the Making Maths Count group states that transformation in public attitudes towards maths is needed – and everyone has a part to play.

It has highlighted its three priorities:

  • Transforming public attitudes to maths
  • Improving confidence and fluency in maths for children, young people, parents and all those who deliver maths education
  • Promoting the value of maths as an essential skill for every career

These have been informed by the response to the group's online questionnaire, which more than 3,100 adults and young people have completed so far.

A final report is due to be submitted to the Scottish Government over the Summer.

Education Secretary Angela Constance said:

"I am pleased to see the progress being made and that many people are rising to the challenge of helping to make maths matter more.

"The group has had a fantastic response to its call for evidence and I'm encouraged that many people are keen to improve their skills, whether to help their children or do their job better.

"Maths skills are vital for everyday life and for many, it seems worries about the subject stem from childhood. Children are greatly influenced by those around them and seemingly light-hearted comments, such as 'I can't do maths', can perpetuate this problem.

"We must encourage and support our young people to achieve all they can so they can reach their full potential, and would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the important work of the profile-raising group."

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education in Glasgow, and chair of the group, said:

"Too many people think maths is all about numbers but it is so much more – patterns, shapes and problem-solving are all critical areas for skills for life, learning and work. This is not appreciated enough as too often people try to avoid using the word maths, because they know it can make people nervous.

"We need to champion maths and ensure maths skills are recognised as being as important as reading and writing. After all we use them every day, whether it be reading a train timetable, budgeting or doing DIY.

"'Maths anxiety' is an issue in Scotland and we'll be focusing on how we address this and give people the confidence to participate in maths. This will be at different levels – we're not saying everyone needs a degree in maths. But whether it be mastering fundamental maths skills for everyday life, or going on to study Highers or beyond to open the door to a career in many vital and growing sectors such as digital technology or engineering, maths is for everyone."

Notes to editors

Further information about the Making Maths Count and the group's online survey (closing on Tuesday 22 March) are available at www.gov.scot/makingmathscount

The interim report from the Making Maths Count National Profile Raising Group can be found here

The following organisations and resources provide advice and support to those wishing to improve their maths skills:

National Numeracy is an independent charity established in 2012 to help raise low levels of numeracy among both adults and children and to promote the importance of everyday maths skills across the UK. Skills Development Scotland run The Big Plus - Scotland's national adult literacy and numeracy campaign.

Parentzone Scotland and Read, Write, Count provide information and resources on how parents can support their child's maths skills.

Education Scotland has a range of teacher resources for maths.