With Chinese maths pupils having the highest international test results, the National Numeracy Challenge aims to improve numeracy levels for a million people in England. They will provide master classes in 30 ‘maths hubs’, which are planned as a network of centres of excellence.
The announcement comes as a campaign is launched to raise the maths skills of adults, coming as a result of warnings that poor numeracy is costing the UK economy £20 billion per year. The National Numeracy Challenge is providing an online self-assessment test, with help for those lacking in confidence in maths.
The Chief Executive of National Numeracy, Mike Ellicock, says that 78 per cent of working age adults have a maths skill that is below the equivalent of a GCSE grade C, and that half this number only have the math skill of a child leaving primary school.
In a survey of over 2300 adults, the numeracy campaign found that over a third of thought their level of maths had held them back. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) says that children of poor families in Shanghai are, on average, better at maths than middle class children in the UK.
The teachers are expected to arrive from Autumn, when they will share their teaching methods, support pupils who are struggling and help to train other teachers.