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Addressing maths anxiety in the UK

Addressing maths anxiety in the UK

16 May 2019

On 15 May we championed the National Numeracy Challenge in support of National Numeracy Day and our commitment to dispelling negative associations with maths. The challenge provided an opportunity for adults to learn basic numeracy skills needed in daily life and work. As a champion, we are committed to engaging and supporting colleagues and learners to boost their numeracy confidence.

We are currently working to support UK students to overcome maths anxiety as a barrier to learning. Across our history as partners in maths education in the UK, we have understood that maths anxiety can be a real concern for teachers, parents, and children. This March, a Cambridge University report found that ten per cent of children surveyed suffered from maths anxiety, defined as ‘overwhelming negative emotions’ towards the discipline. In response, we have strengthened our commitment to finding ways to make everyone feel more positive about numbers, starting with advice and resources from our publishers, professional development leads, and teachers in our Advocate Schools.

Jill Cornish, our Editorial Director of Primary Maths, and Derry Richardson, our Head of Professional Development, shared their insights into ‘the entrenched maths anxiety pupils feel’ with the TES online this National Numeracy Day. Jill and Derry delved into ‘a culture in the UK where it is surprisingly acceptable to be negative about maths’ and the ‘opportunity for change’ provided by the new Ofsted inspection framework. They emphasised the importance of resources which build strong foundations as well as focussing on confidence and attitudes. The article also considered the ‘critical’ role played by parents in helping children address maths anxiety ‘as well as often facing their own challenges with numeracy’. 

Read our full TES article on maths anxiety >