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OCF joins new initiative to improve adults’ maths skills

Almost half of adults in England (49%), have the maths skills of an 11 year-old, according to the latest figures.  That means that half of us regularly struggle with things like fractions, percentages and ratios in our everyday lives. 

Now a new initiative has been set up to give adult maths a boost for 2013 - and get more people to believe that maths really is something everybody needs to know - and many of us need to brush up on.

Maths4us kicked off this week with over 20 national organisations coming together to pool resources and plan action on adult maths over the coming weeks.  OCF (Online Centres Foundation) - the organisation behind UK online centres - is just one of the partners involved in the initiative.

Supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Maths4us is being led by NIACE.  Carol Taylor, NIACE Director for Development and Research, said:  "One of the seven recommendations from the NIACE- led Inquiry into Numeracy in 2011 was that adults should be able to learn maths in a way that’s more relevant to their everyday lives. The Government’s Review of English and Maths last year found that far too many adults struggle with maths and many of them find certain maths tasks - from budgeting, to getting the best deal – challenging. As such, a new approach is needed to help adults improve their maths skills. Maths is for all of us; this is why we’re taking action on adult maths.

“People see maths as something very intelligent people ‘do’, not an essential set of skills for work, family, health and throughout life. We want to engage people through showing how everyone uses maths every day of their lives, that it can be exciting and fun, and that it is not something to be scared of. Working with our wide-range of expert partners will enable us to get added value by using their links, networks and routes to people from all kinds of backgrounds to help them, their families and their friends become more confident and happier with maths."

OCF’s Chief Executive Helen Milner, added:  "UK online centres are experts at introducing maths by the back door. In order to get people interested in the online world, centres focus on individual interests, and maths comes in almost incidentally – for instance in doing online price comparisons, converting measurements for online recipes, or working out time differences for Skype calls. We’re delighted to be part of Maths4us, and making sure that back door is opened for even more people. We’re particularly looking forward to working with the other Maths4us partners to develop and share maths resources."

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Other partners in the Maths4us initiative include the Association for Learning Technology (ALT); BBC Learning; Booktrust; Campaign for Learning; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD); Confederation of British Industry (CBI); Horizon; Institute of Education (IoE); Institute for Learning (IfL); Jisc/Jisc Advance; Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS); Learning Unlimited; National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM); National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI); National Numeracy; National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC); The Open University; Transport for London (TfL); UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES); unionlearn; The University of Nottingham; and Workbase.

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