I wonder if I was the only person in the country not to be shocked by the recent programme on Channel 4 ‘Kids don’t count’ which highlighted the failure of our schools to teach children basic numeracy. It reported that 1 in 5 children leaving primary school fail to achieve the expected standard in numeracy, nearly half our children fail to achieve a grade A-C at GCSE, and many adults (including primary teachers) can’t do basic sums.
The reason I wasn’t shocked, is that these figures are all too familiar to me. NPC is currently carrying out research into poor numeracy to see whether charities could be part of the answer. We think they can.
Whilst the government can rightly be criticised for letting our children down through inadequate teaching, we think that charities could also do more. At the moment, charities play a very minor role in this area, and whilst it is not their place to provide mainstream teaching for our children, we think there is a need for an independent organisation to hold the government to account and ensure our children (and adults) are equipped with the numeracy skills they need. Otherwise, I can see myself watching exactly the same sort of programme in five, ten and twenty years time.
NPC’s report on numeracy will be published in April when it will be available to download from our website.