You may have heard people say that the maths they learnt at school (specifically algebra or pythagoras’ theorem) is useless to them as adults, and that this has left them wondering “Why were we told maths is so important?”. 

However, numeracy and maths is used far more often on a daily basis by everyone than we often realise.

Every pay day you probably notice if your tax is roughly right, you know how much your take home pay is, and you know how much your bills will cost and how much disposable income and savings you have.

Maths comes in really handy when you want to take out a mortgage, open a savings account, or get a credit card. How much will you pay back? Is a loan or a credit card best for your needs? How much will it cost a month and can I afford it?

Maths is also all around us in ways we cannot see. You can guarantee that any technology we use is utilising maths to work out both calculations (cash machines, self-service tills) and also as part of the programming and algorithms it uses to work – and also to target you for relevant advertising, in the case of social media.

Even without using mathematics in our jobs we are surrounded by it, and you can see from just a few of the examples above that a low numeracy level may affect multiple aspects of your life.

Children also start measuring things by eye such as filling their water bottle or looking to see if their sibling has more or less food than them.

You can encourage these skills in a number of ways including:

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