To mark this week's National Numeracy Day, our Quality Manager and passionate maths expert, Lucy Farnan-Stone, has been setting the Tutor Trust staff team puzzles to tickle our brain cells!

Her joy in maths is infectious, and we know that same enthusiasm applies to our amazing tutors who specialise in this subject. In turn, they aim to give their tutees a range of tools to work confidently with numbers and to carry that self-belief into all areas of their lives. 

Lucy says that we all have an ability in maths – whether we know it or not! She reminds us that we all have a ‘math brain’ but may have different skills: “National Numeracy Day is a reminder that we should be proud of our math abilities and continue to hone our skills in new and exciting ways that benefit our lives.”

Our Chief Executive Ed Marsh believes giving our tutees the opportunity to hone their mathematical skills is vital, to better prepare them for life after school. “Maths plays such a crucial role in our adult lives that we want to make sure the young people we support have the tools to navigate in a world of numbers as they get older,“  he says.

New research shows that not having confidence with numbers can impact our lives. The report, Number confidence and social mobility from National Numeracy,* found that:

  • Negative school maths experience is linked to lower number confidence and lower maths attainment,
  • Lower attainment and number confidence are also linked to a greater negative career impact (earnings, career choices and progression),
  • These issues disproportionately affect women, younger people and the unemployed.
  • includes several first-person articles from adults who talk about the challenges they have faced with maths, and the impact on their lives.

The report also includes several first-person articles from adults who talk about the challenges they have faced with maths, and the impact on their lives.

Ed has both a professional and personal interest in the important role maths plays in social mobility and describes the case studies as impactful. “The stories are a hard read, but, if anything, they should motivate us all as educators to give young people the best grounding we possibly can in this crucial area.”

Through small group tuition, tutors tailor tuition sessions to the individual students, and their interests, making it more relevant and relatable and in turn fostering an interest and connection with maths.

This year we have tutored almost 2,800 pupils in maths, with our youngest pupils in Year 3 and our eldest preparing for GCSEs in Year 11. Their feedback shows how much the sessions mean!

Tutee L, a Year 6 pupil at Whingate Primary School in Leeds, said their favourite tuition moment had been: “Learning fractions because I now understand it.” For Year 6 tutee G at Coop Parkland, G, it was: “When we did multiplication and division because it taught me to times a number by a bigger number.” While pupil I, a Year 11 student at Co-op Academy said we should extend the sessions, as all were their favourite moment!

We are also, in partnership with the University of Liverpool Maths School, extending our tutoring support to gifted young mathematicians. The Maths Circles project has been created by MESME (Mathematics Education for Social Mobility and Excellence), a charity that aims to support students from all backgrounds to develop and expand their mathematical thinking and curiosity. Together they grapple with intriguing questions and discover and explore exciting ideas, in turn developing and expanding their knowledge and supporting them to reach their potential.

If you’re a school leader looking for some additional Maths (or English or Science) support for your pupils, or want to know more about our MESME project, please get in touch with Mark Wyss, Programme Director, [email protected].

And if you’re interested in boosting your own maths confidence, try the Getting on With Numbers Challenge.

*Number confidence and social mobility from National Numeracy.