North Walsham High school is committed to raising the standards of numeracy of all of its students, with the main aim being that they develop the ability to use numeracy skills effectively in all areas of the curriculum and acquire the necessary skills to cope confidently with the demands of further education, employment and adult life. We also endeavour to raise the profile of numeracy, so that all students and staff are aware of its importance and to ensure that they perceive maths and numeracy in a positive light.

There are many key elements to being a numerate person. Below are just a couple of specific areas with which students sometimes struggle:


The importance of knowing ones times-table (up to at least 12 x 12) should never be under estimated. Not only does it allow students to feel more confident if they can recall calculations instantly, it is so important for many other aspects of numeracy and maths. For example, the following topics are just a few of the many that use times-table knowledge:

Multiples and Factors
Expanding brackets

Therefore, not knowing ones times-tables, can be a barrier to accessing other topics and concepts.

How can times-tables be improved?

The strongest argument for this is still, to learn them by rote. It is a case of practicing and repeating. Some people may claim that they can’t learn them or don’t know them, but these same people know the lyrics to hundreds of songs and are sometimes able to memorise complex maps and routes on video games for example.  If you practice them enough, you will  know them.

Fractions, decimals and percentages

It is a useful life skill to be able to convert quickly between fractions, decimals and percentages. Students should aim to be familiar with some of the most common/key ones. For example what is 3/5 as a percentage or 5% as a fraction in its simplest form?

Time and measurements

Again, it is an important life skill to be able to work with time and measurements in different contexts. For example, how many minutes are there in three and a half hours? Or, if a bus leaves a station at 10.32am and takes 55minutes to get to its destination, at what time will it get there.?

A similar thing is true with weights and measurements that we see in every day life. It is an important skill to be able to convert between different units, for example metres to cm or ml to Litres.

Policy on Calculators

Students should have their own calculator, of which they are familiar with. A CASIO scientific calculator would be recommended, but it does not have to be this model.

Students should avoid using calculators on phones for doing homework, as this creates inconsistency and possible misconceptions due to the way in which many of them are programmed.