Half of parents struggle with primary school maths

Over a third of mums and dads admit they think maths is the hardest subject to help their child with – so much so that half of parents couldn’t even solve a maths problem designed for a 10-year-old.

Maths homework(woodleywonderworks/Flickr)

One in four parents in the UK admitted they wouldn’t feel confident in assisting their youngster with long division without a calculator, while just under a quarter said they struggle with converting decimals, fractions and percentages.

Nearly one in five (19%) confessed they wouldn’t feel equipped to help out with long multiplication, with even a small percentage (6%) revealing they would have difficulty with times tables. Mother helping with maths homework(AP)

Despite 34% of parents finding maths the hardest subject to help with, followed by modern languages, science and history, 82% admitted that they found the subject useful in working life, just behind English (85%)

After quizzing 1,000 parents on their view of the subject, the survey, commissioned by Pearson with Carol Vorderman’s online maths school, found that just over half of parents were oblivious to the new maths curriculum that had been introduced to primary schools this year, unaware it’s more demanding. Maths homework(David Jones/PA)

Less than half of mothers and fathers could correctly answer a primary school maths question on currency conversion without the help of a calculator.

“£1 exchanges for 1.60 US dollars. Ashley returns from holiday with 20 dollars having spent 60 dollars. How many pounds did Ashley start with?”

The ineptitude may be down to 34% of parents confessing they disliked maths while they were at school and a quarter admitting they’d rather be bad at the subject than struggle at English. Maths homework(Ben Babcock/Flickr)

Despite this, two thirds of mums and dads agree the most important objective of their youngster’s primary school maths education is to muster the confidence to solve the problems, while 44% thought it was important their child enjoyed the subject, with a further 42% believing it was important preparation for secondary school.

Vorderman said: “Maths skills are essential in everyday life and it’s perhaps concerning to see a divide opening up between those who are aware of the new curriculum and those who aren’t, and between those who have the confidence to help their children and those who don’t.

“As a parent myself, I know how busy life gets, but with a bit of support we can all easily become confident with numbers.”

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