National Numeracy Day: A celebration of numbers

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Is your maths ready for National Numeracy Day?

Numeracy challenge blog

If you struggle with sums, the National Numeracy Day Challenge is here to help you.

While financial education is now on the national curriculum in schools, many UK adults are still struggling with everyday maths - the kind that you need to understand interest rates, check your bank statement, manage household accounts, plan your family finances, and help your children with their homework.

When you stop and think about it, we use maths all the time - even when working out quantities in that Christmas pudding recipe, or when doing some sales shopping!

Safety in numbers?

  • Across the UK around 4 in 5 adults have a low level of numeracy skills, which is roughly defined as being below the skill needed to achieve a GCSE grade 'C'.1
  • Almost a third of parents lack the confidence in their own maths skills to help their primary school-age children with their maths homework.2
  • A KPMG report estimates the costs to the public purse as a result of our failure to master basic numeracy skills are up to £2.4 billion every year. 3
  • Numeracy skills have been linked to good health, higher wages and better chances of employment.1

How can the National Numeracy Challenge help?

The National Numeracy Campaign is a drive to improve adults' confidence and competence with numeracy. It also aims to create a positive attitude towards it - to convince us that it's something we can all do with a little effort, regardless of our classroom experiences. 

At the Campaign's core is the National Numeracy Challenge - an interactive website designed to assess your level of maths, to set you a target to improve it and to help you with a learning plan to give you the confidence to do it.

It's confidential and takes around 20 minutes to complete. If you reach Gold standard you can leave the challenge, confident in your abilities - if not, you're set a target and directed to online resources to help you reach your potential. It's a really easy, user-friendly way to improve your maths.

How would you do?

Have a go at these sample questions 4:

BRONZE LEVEL (the level expected for nine to 11-year olds):

Jeff spent £1.80 on six eggs. Work out how much each egg cost.

a)     35p

b)     40p

c)     60p

d)     30p

SILVER LEVEL (equivalent to GCSE grades D-G):

John is planning to go for a walk in the country. The map uses a scale of 1:50,000 (2cm to 1km) and he wants to walk for 20km. How many cm is this on the map? And, if he plans a route, which is 50cm on the map, how many km will this be?

a)     40cm and 25km

b)     25cm and 40km

c)     40cm and 50km

d)     50cm and 25km

GOLD LEVEL (equivalent to GCSE grades A*-C):

Sian bought a TV in the January sales, which had been reduced by 20 per cent. If she paid £290 for it, what was the original price?

a)     £348

b)     £406.50

c)     £362.50

d)     £360

For the correct answers, see below.

Find out more

Test yourself by taking the full online numeracy test here: or log on to the main to access a Parent Toolkit and other resources for teachers, learners and employers.


  1. National Numeracy - What is the issue?
  2. Telegraph - Parents struggling with primary school maths homework
  3. National Numeracy - Resources Report - The Long term cost of numeracy difficulties (2008)
  4. Telegraph - Can you pass the National Numeracy Challenge 

Answers to numeracy questions:

Bronze: d) 30p, Silver: a) 40cm and 25km, Gold: c) £362.50


Image courtesy of Mister GC at