WORRYING new figures have revealed almost half of all adults struggle with basic maths.
A new report by the charity National Numeracy found 17m adults had the same maths skills as an 11-year-old, resulting in them finding it hard to calculate change and use transport timetables.
The Gazette asked 10 members of the public two maths questions taken from a SATs paper intended to test a Year 6 pupil.
While eight out of the 10 people asked got the questions correct, many of them lacked confidence in their answers and took a considerable time to get the right answer.
Anne Brown, 59, from Tuxford Road, Lytham, has a degree in maths and says standards of mental arithmetic are getting worse.
She said: “The general standards are dropping and it’s down to the fact children don’t learn their times tables and rely on calculators.
“People have to know maths because of interest rates and pensions, and if they don’t know figures it’s going to be hard to gauge the way forward.”
Gemma Simister, 22, from Anchor Way, St Annes, says she is guilty of being lazy when it comes to maths.
She added: “I rely on my iPad to work sums out and I don’t do anything in my head.
“I can’t do maths because I become baffled by numbers when I see them.”
Her mother, Carol Simister, 52, added: “I think I’m fine with maths.
“I work things out when I go shopping and only struggle with my memory to remember the numbers.” Click here to register with The Gazette website to enable you to comment on stories.
Jon Mcleod head of admissions, liaison and marketing at Blackpool Sixth Form College, says a good understanding of maths is vital to youngsters progressing.
He said: “We have seen a significant growth in the numbers of students taking A-Level maths with us in recent years which we take as a sign of the increasing profile of the subject as an excellent qualification for a wide variety of degree and career routes.
“We always emphasise to prospective students the importance of passing their GCSE maths while at school but we can offer an opportunity for those who have not passed it to re-take it with us.”
Blackpool Council runs numeracy courses in conjunction with Blackpool and The Fylde College to offer adults the opportunity to improve the skills with numbers.
A spokesman for adult learning said: “Literacy and Numeracy skills are basic requirements to get by in life whether it’s filling in forms for jobs or reading stories to your grandchildren, it’s never too late to ask for help.
“There are a range of flexible, innovative courses that provide opportunities to develop Maths and English skills, and achieve a nationally-recognised qualifications.”