Adult numeracy: teacher qualifications matter

08 April 2011

Helen Casey, director of the IOE's National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, has responded to the Ofsted report, "Tackling the challenge of low numeracy skills in young people and adults", published today (Friday, April 8). She said:

"Today's Ofsted report highlights the need for a better-qualified adult numeracy workforce. Only 28% of 506 numeracy tutors involved in their survey had the right qualifications for the role. This echoes national survey findings from 2009.

"Our research has demonstrated clear evidence that adult learners who had better qualified numeracy teachers made more progress. In addition, a study we carried out last year supports Ofsted's concerns about the difficulties for managers in finding qualified numeracy teachers and for teachers in finding the courses they need.

"If we want to change the national profile of our population's numeracy skills, we need to make it much easier for tutors to get the subject-specific training they need, and to increase students' chances of being taught by a qualified tutor."



The IOE offers a course Mathematics (Numeracy) Diploma in Education for those interested in teaching the subject.


Editors' notes

For more information or to interview Helen Casey please contact James Russell: / 020 7911 5556; Emily Brewer or Diane Hofkins

For more information on research from the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) visit:

Recent trends in the initial training of teachers of literacy, numeracy and ESOL for the further education sector in England , LLUK  2010

Teachers of adult literacy, numeracy and ESOL: progress towards a qualified workforce, NRDC for Lifelong Learning UK, 2009;

Teachers' qualifications and their learners' progress and change in self-confidence, Cara and De Coulon, NRDC 2009

The Institute of Education is a college of the University of London that specialises in education and related areas of social science and professional practice. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise two-thirds of the publications that the IOE submitted were judged to be internationally significant and over a third were judged to be "world leading". The Institute was recognised by Ofsted in 2010 for its "high quality" initial teacher training programmes that inspire its students "to want to be outstanding teachers". The IOE is a member of the 1994 group, which brings together 19 internationally renowned, research-intensive universities.