Why is Numeracy so important?
In 2017, Sir Adrian Smith published a review of post-16 mathematics education for the government. Some key quotes from the report can be found below:
- ‘Adults with basic numeracy skills earn higher wages and are more likely to be in employment than those who fail to master these skills.’
- ‘Individuals who achieve five or more good GCSEs (including English and mathematics) as their highest qualification have a lifetime productivity gain worth around £100,000 compared to those with below level 2 or no qualifications.’
- ‘Around half of individuals in jobs where mathematical sciences qualifications are essential were found to have salaries of £29,000 or more, compared with only 19 per cent of the UK workforce overall.’
- ‘In the UK, around seven in ten employees report that quantitative skills are essential or important to carry out their work. … In 2012, around 20 percent of young people in the UK did not have basic skills.’
Since 2017, the situation has not improved, in 2022 a government study found that around 17 million adults in England - half the working-age population - have the numeracy skills of a primary school aged child
Why is Numeracy important in our school context?
- Only 10% of scholars arriving at Ark Greenwich Free School have the expected Numerical Literacy of a Year 7 student
- Largest ethnic groups = black African and white British. These two ethnic groups have the lowest overall progress score nationally.
- 57% male cohort.
- 39% of students receive PPG.
- School’s catchment area encapsulates postcodes from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most deprived deciles in the UK.
- Greenwich is the sixth most deprived local authority in England. In 2019, Royal Borough of Greenwich had the 2nd lowest progress score in London for GCSE outcomes and in the UK overall.
The objective of the mathematics curriculum at Ark Greenwich Free School is to provide pupils with a foundation for understanding the increasingly mathematical world and equip them with the critical skills required to participate in society. An essential building block of this curriculum is our Numeracy programme.
Our Numeracy programme has been carefully structured to give scholars the mathematical knowledge and processes required to access lessons by rapidly closing critical ‘gaps’ in students’ mathematical knowledge.
We firmly believe that no scholar will be held back by poor numeracy skills, or a lack of confidence with numeracy at our school.
Our aim is for 80% of our pupils to achieve a Grade 4 or 5 in a Foundation GCSE Paper by the end of Year 9, so that 60% of scholars can get a grade 7 and 100% can achieve a Grade 4 by the end of KS4
Before our scholars join us in Year 7 they are given a copy of their Provisional Numeracy Licence. This booklet carefully targets the skills which will be essential to success in secondary school. This booklet contains four sections which help our scholars prepare for the test they will sit in September when they arrive with us.
Scholars then follow a process which both supports and stretches scholars, based on their current level of attainment.
If a scholar passes the Fundamental Skills test then they will move onto Stretch and Challenge content. This includes sitting the Junior Maths Challenge; a national competition involving thousands of scholars.
If a scholar does not pass the Fundamental Skills test then they will be given bespoke support. This includes being placed into a class with other scholars who have not passed their test and being taught a bespoke curriculum to bring them up to speed, being placed into a maths focused form group, additional Independent Learning and streamlining of the Timetable to give extra time for maths support.
- Y6 Summer Independent Learning set scholars up for success leading 75 Year 7 scholars to pass the Fundamental Skills test on their first attempt in 2023.
- Due to the bespoke support offered, over 95% of scholars passed Fundamental skills by Christmas 2022
- Progress 8 score of +1.09 at GCSE - with over 95 scholars achieving a Grade 4 or above.
- 84% of scholars achieving a Grade 5+ at GCSE