Numeracy and mathematics

Mathematics is important in our everyday life, allowing us to make sense of the world around us and to manage our lives. Using mathematics enables us to model real-life situations and make connections and informed predictions. It equips us with the skills we need to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and make informed decisions.

Mathematics plays an important role in areas such as science or technologies, and is vital to research and development in fields such as engineering, computing science, medicine and finance. Learning mathematics gives children and young people access to the wider curriculum and the opportunity to pursue further studies and interests.

Being numerate helps us to function responsibly in everyday life and contribute effectively to society. It increases our opportunities within the world of work and establishes foundations which can be built upon through lifelong learning. Numeracy is not only a subset of mathematics; it is also a life skill which permeates and supports all areas of learning, allowing young people access to the wider curriculum.

Practical support and resources

Numeracy and Mathematics Professional Learning Community: provides access to a secure online area which provides a wealth of professional learning for a wide range of aspects related to numeracy and mathematics. It includes links to resources supporting effective learning and teaching across the broad general education and the senior phase. All Education Scotland resources for numeracy and mathematics can be accessed here. A Glow practitioner log-in is required.

Numeracy professional learning resources: A suite of five professional learning papers, together with an accompanying guidance document and glossary, designed to support improved learning and teaching of numeracy in the Broad General Education.

Differentiated learning in numeracy and mathematics (2015): Briefing 1 - A short, practitioner-focused research briefing which summarises research on differentiated learning and considers how it could be used to improve learner outcomes in numeracy and mathematics. It has a particular focus on meeting the needs of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Higher order thinking skills in maths: This resource illustrates practical activities to improve learning and teaching skills. It will support improvement by utilising higher order thinking skills by tackling the following key areas: problem solving: Seeking and identifying strategies and reasoning; comprehension and interpretation of statistics; flexibility of thinking; using and understanding appropriate mathematical vocabulary; identifying the steps and using a number of operation; realising the importance of accurate calculations; and applying inverse operations.

Find more resources, examples of practice, research and improvement frameworks and tools for numeracy and mathematics in the National Improvement Hub.

Events and activities

Maths Week Scotland runs each year during the autumn term. Experience the benefits, joy and beauty of maths in exciting new ways by participating in this yearly event which has the aim of helping Scotland transform into a maths-positive nation.

Key documents

Experiences and outcomes

Principles and practice documents


National Numeracy and Mathematics Progression Framework

Transforming Scotland into a maths positive nation: final report of the Making Maths Count group

Multiplying skills, adding value: national thematic inspection

National Qualifications

Visit the SQA website for latest support for mathematics.