Making maths count in Liverpool

A campaign to drive up numeracy and mathematics skills in Liverpool is being launched.

Liverpool Counts will see the launch of a new ‘quality mark’ to recognise excellent practice in schools and other education establishments as part of a drive to improve attainment in maths at all levels in education.

Around 30 schools representing the primary, secondary and special school sectors will attend the launch at Partnership for Learning in Speke.

Dr Graham Lawler – who created the highly acclaimed BBC Bite Size GCSE revision guide for advanced maths and wrote a book with the late Sir Arthur C Clarke about understanding maths – has been appointed to lead Liverpool Counts.

The scheme – spearheaded by the Liverpool Learning Partnership, which comprises education leaders in the city who support and challenge each other – aims to:

• Raise standards in mathematics and numeracy with fun and joy of number at its heart
• To challenge perceptions and change attitudes towards number and mathematics
• To raise the profile of numeracy using activities, events and resources based on real-life
• To bring relevance to numeracy through problem solving demonstrating it is an essential skill

Although exam results have improved in Liverpool over the last decade, performance in maths still lags behind English and recent changes to the GCSE examination means it now incorporates many topics that were previously confined to the A level paper.

Dr Lawler said: “This project will build on the good work that is already happening in Liverpool. Our schools are improving but we do recognise there is more to do. Our companies and organisations will also be involved as will our colleges, and we all need to play our part – which means mums and dads as well.

“The worst thing that adults say to children is that they could never do maths when they were their age. It suggests you can be successful without basic maths when actually numeracy and literacy are like food and drink – you can last for a while without one or the other but you need both to survive.

“We all need to adopt the national numeracy slogan ‘I can’t do maths…YET’ and take action to learn!”

Research shows that:

• Adults who have good numeracy skills are less likely to be unemployed
• Numeracy is a bigger indicator of disadvantage than literacy
• The OECD said in 2013 that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health

Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Liverpool schools have made massive progress over the last decade and exam results have improved immensely, but maths results lag behind those in English.

“Good numeracy skills are an increasingly important part of many skilled jobs and essential to everyday life as an adult. If you can’t do maths then you won’t be able to understand your payslips and bills, or get the best shopping deals.

“Liverpool Counts is about making numeracy accessible and fun to improve your maths skills in a way that works for you.”

Liverpool Counts is based on the successful model of Liverpool City of Readers, which is contributing to the raising of standards in reading and writing.