Multiply: The government scheme to improve adult numeracy

Posted on 14th November 2022

Posted by CENTURY

3 min read

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


What is the Multiply scheme?

The Multiply scheme is part of the UK government’s Skills for Life campaign to improve adult numeracy. Around 17 million adults in England - half of the working-age population - have numeracy skills equivalent to a primary school child. National Numeracy estimates this costs the country about £25 billion in lost earnings, or about £1,600 per person, every year. What’s more, this deficit isn’t spread fairly, with communities in the north of England disproportionately worse off than those in the south east. 

Improving adult numeracy is a key part of the government’s levelling up strategy. In April 2022 the government announced a plan to multiply the country’s maths skills with a £430 million funding pot. This has been allocated to local councils and mayoral authorities across the UK as a “cash boost” to support adult learners who want to improve their maths, and employers who could benefit by upskilling their workforce.

Who is Multiply for?

The Multiply scheme can be used to fund tuition sessions, courses, engagement, programmes and exams for any adult who does not already have a GCSE grade C or 4 in Maths (or an equivalent) or higher. Local authorities, providers and businesses are being encouraged to offer free flexible online and in person courses to support learners who wish to work towards a Maths GCSE or Functional Skills qualification, and those who just want to improve their numeracy.

According to the government, poor numeracy skills can hold people back from having the confidence to get on in life and into work. Those who improve their numeracy skills are not only more likely to be in employment, but also have higher wages, and better wellbeing.

How can CENTURY help multiply your learners’ maths skills?

Our maths content, which is used in colleges, training providers and schools across the country, has been adapted into a variety of bespoke courses specifically to support learners benefitting from the Multiply scheme. These courses include:

  • Maths for parents: courses to support parents help their children with their maths homework throughout primary and secondary school.
  • Vocational maths: courses to improve numeracy and relevant maths and data analysis skills across a variety of career paths including business and enterprise, construction, hair and beauty, health and social care, hospitality and catering, and sport.
  • Numeracy for ESOL students: courses to support numeracy and mathematical terms and concepts for those learning English as a second language.
  • Gaining qualifications: learners can study towards success in Functional Skills Level 1, Functional Skills Level 2, or GCSE Maths qualifications with CENTURY courses that are already used by schools, colleges and providers across the world.
  • Improving numeracy at home or in the workplace: courses for adult learners of any age or level to practice and improve their maths skills to build confidence with everyday tasks such as household budgets and bills, or increasing competence in maths for work.

Our online maths courses have a track record in the adult education sector and we have partnerships with colleges, Independent Training Providers (ITPs) and Local Authority adult learning departments across the country.

CENTURY’s partner Activate Learning has already seen incredible maths results, with 64.4 percent of their summer 2022 GCSE Maths cohort receiving a grade 4 or higher. This is particularly impressive when compared to either the 2019 national average for campus-based adult learners of 37.9 percent, or the 22.0 percent pass rate for all learners over the age of 17 in 2022. On average, Activate’s adult learners completed over 2,000 questions on CENTURY each.

Our personalised learning pathway supports independent learning and is available remotely, making these courses ideal for adult learners who require flexibility. Sam Parry, Advanced Practitioner at Reaseheath College told us: “CENTURY's maths courses have been great for our learners whether they are working towards a Functional Skills or GCSE exam, or just want to improve their numeracy. CENTURY's flexibility also means adult learners can use it during evening classes, on their courses, or remotely as required.”

CENTURY also has developed a new adaptive Smart IA™ which allows for a quick and simple assessment of the level of a new starter on any maths course. IT Learning Area Lead Adam Godfrey from Central Bedfordshire College told us how valuable the Smart IA™ was as a “stress-free way for teachers to ensure that all new learners are receiving the correct support for their level - the teachers have no need to worry that someone will be placed on the wrong course”.

See here for more information about how CENTURY can help with the Multiply scheme.