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  1. ITV Report

Tonight: Trouble With Numbers

17 million adults in England have a competence level with numbers roughly equivalent to that expected of children at primary school, according to a recent survey.

Maths class at Westdene Primary School Credit: ITV / Tonight

Tonight reveals that poor numeracy may be preventing many of us from achieving our full potential and it's costing the British economy an estimated £20 billion each year.

We think the biggest challenge overall is that it's socially acceptable in this country to say ‘I can't do maths’…We know for example from international research that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.”

– Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive, ‘National Numeracy’
Mike Ellicock teaching Credit: ITV / Tonight

In a 2012 OECD PISA study of 15 year olds’ maths ability, the UK came 26th out of 65 nations, and children in the Far East roughly were three years ahead of their British counterparts.

Tonight visits the HQ of Formula 1 racing team, McLaren, and examines the importance of maths - and problem-solving - to the success of Britain’s economy.

Tonight reporter Jonathan Maitland at McLaren HQ Credit: ITV / Tonight

We look at the use of maths in the everyday working environment whilst talking to Merseytravel employees enrolled in a learning scheme through their Trade Union.

And we discuss the new developments in the maths curriculum that are attempting to tackle this issue, and the reasons behind our lack of confidence in adding up - and the now all too common phenomenon of ‘maths anxiety’.

Maths can be applied to everyday activities in the classroom Credit: ITV / Tonight

The programme also challenges the members of Lewes Ladies Football team to a test of how well they can keep score, and in Brighton parents are pitted against pupils in an old-fashioned school hall maths test.

Parents and pupils put to the test Credit: ITV / Tonight

Tonight: Trouble with Numbers is on ITV at 7:30pm

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