Why Number Partners?

It’s a numbers problem

  • Around 80% of adults in England have a low level of numeracy


  • Almost 50% of the UK population believe it is socially acceptable to be bad at maths


  • 20% of children leave primary school without the expected level of maths

It’s a costly problem

  • £20.2 billion = cost to the public purse


  • £30 billion = cost to the UK economy in untapped potential by 2030, if we fail to help the poorest primary age children to catch up
  • Low levels of numeracy = poor outcomes in
    employment                health            social-emotional well-being


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It’s all about attitude

  • Many children believe that you need to be born with a ‘maths brain’ and it cannot be learnt 

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  • At primary school, pupils develop their ‘maths self-concept’ a subconscious ideas of whether or not maths is for them, that can be used to predict scores on standardised test

Attitudes can be changed

  • The reason so many of us believe we can’t do maths is largely psychological, not due to intrinsic ability
  • A positive attitude to maths is key to being numerate


  • Early interventions can alleviate ‘maths anxiety’
  • Improving pupils’ perceptions of their own abilities positively impacts attainment
  • Interventions that change mindset and boost achievement can reduce the attainment gap


See ‘Our Impact‘ for how Number Partners volunteers facilitate positive attitudes to maths



  1. National Numeracy: http://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/research-attitudes-towards-maths-1http://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/what-issue
  2. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Skills for Life Survey, 2011:
  3. Department for Education, ‘Literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies‘, 2012
  4. New Philanthropy Capital, ‘Count me in‘ report, 2010
  5. Pro Bono Economics / National Numeracy: ‘Cost of Outcomes Associated with Low Levels of Adults Numeracy in the UK‘ report, 2014
  6. University of Washington: ‘Math and Me: Children who identify with math get higher scores’