The number is up for innumeracy

More attention must be paid to adult numeracy in Scotland, which is seen as receiving less attention than literacy problems, according to a new report.

An estimated 20 per cent of Scots over the age of 16 have difficulties with numeracy but the report, Adult Numeracy in Scotland - Shifting the Focus, by Diana Coben, of King's College London, notes that "adult innumeracy is less well-developed than adult literacy in Scotland, in policy and in practice".

It adds that quality provision will depend on boosting the supply of well-trained and qualified tutors, and on recognising that they have distinctive expertise rather than being "largely subsumed in literacy". The report, commissioned by Learning Connections in the Executive agency Communities Scotland, also proposes a curriculum, informed by research, which takes account of why adults want to learn numeracy. More varied teaching styles are also necessary.

Lillias Noble, head of Learning Connections, which launched the new drive at a conference in Edinburgh last week, said there was now a need for "an action programme to raise the level and understanding of adult literacy provision in Scotland".

The report urges FEtutors to "be creative". It adds: "Numeracy isn't just sums. Topics drawn from the wider society can be explored from a numeracy dimension and help to wean tutors and learners off a diet of unadulterated sums."

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