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Secretary of State backs new Premiership Rugby programme

The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan has today welcomed an innovative and engaging programme from Premiership Rugby which aims to improve numeracy levels amongst more than 38,000 children across England.

Over a three-year period Aviva Tackling Numbers will be delivered in 720 primary schools by the 12 Premiership Rugby Clubs across England. The rugby-themed programme integrates interactive classroom maths sessions with practical, number-based rugby games. Rugby is used to deliver a range of numeracy challenges in a new and exciting way.

"A high-quality maths education improves young people’s life chances – and is a vital part of our plan for education to ensure every child leaves school prepared for life in modern Britain," said the Secretary of State.

"The Tackling Numbers rugby programme offers an innovative way of getting children interested in maths at primary school – and also encourages them to take up and enjoy sports – which can build great resilience and character.

"In maths, we have reformed the curriculum to put it on a par with the best in the world. Schemes like this can help give children a solid grounding of key concepts at an early age so they are ready for more complex arithmetic at secondary school."

The programme puts in place foundations for financial literacy in later life. It offers a new way to achieve the National Curriculum’s maths and Physical Education, citizenship and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) outcomes.

The programme has also been awarded the pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) Quality Mark after being independently assessed by the UK’s leading financial education charity.

The key aims of the project, which will also train more than 1,400 teachers, are to:

  • Improve children’s confidence in their number skills
  • Increase children’s appreciation of the importance of number skills
  • Enhance children’s uptake and enjoyment of physical activity

In October 2013, the OECD ranked the numeracy skills of British 16 to 24 year olds 21st out of 24 countries in the industrialised world. It highlighted that the numeracy levels of 8.5 million British adults are that of a 10-year-old. Through this programme Premiership Rugby and Aviva have formed a powerful partnership to help address the problem.

The resultant negative impact on their personal financial planning, budget management and potential debt is considerable. However the OECD also emphasised that the economic and social rewards for having high numeracy skills are particularly strong in England, with significant advantages to health, job opportunities and income.

The UK is clearly at a critical juncture with regards to maths and numeracy teaching in schools. An approach which makes numeracy at an early age more exciting and engaging is central to setting children on a path to long term success. Aviva Tackling Numbers does just that.

Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise with pfeg said: "We are delighted to award Tackling Numbers the pfeg Quality Mark.  It has never been more important for young people to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to manage their money well. Sport provides an engaging medium through which we can help young people develop their numeracy and financial literacy skills, and through this develop key skills for the future."

Wayne Morris, Community and Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Premiership Rugby said: "Aviva Tackling Numbers is proven to catalyse improved numeracy skills and increased activity. With our partners Aviva, Premiership Rugby is excited to take Aviva Tackling Numbers into a new era.

"Aviva Tackling Numbers equips children with the confidence and skills to use maths in a practical way.

"It provides the foundations for children to manage their money well, now and in the future. Recognising this contribution to increasing financial literacy in the UK, Aviva Tackling Numbers has been awarded the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) Quality Mark. We are proud to receive this seal of approval from the UK’s leading independent authority on financial education."

Heather Smith, Marketing Director, Aviva UK from Aviva said: "This programme can help educate young people and prepare them for their future, where basic financial skills are a necessity. Time and again we’ve seen the importance of understanding financial matters in adult life.

"Through our partnership with Premiership Rugby, we can help children to be more confident in maths and increase their enjoyment of numeracy, and build their money skills. We see this as an investment in their future financial security. "

The full Aviva Tackling Numbers toolkit is available for anyone to download at http://www.premiershiprugby.com/community/tacklingnumbers.php
 
The three-year programme will:

  • Be delivered in 720 primary schools across schools in England
  • See 38,880 (12,960 per year) children directly benefiting
  • Allow each school to attend a tag rugby festival
  • Train 1,440 teachers to deliver the Aviva Tackling Numbers numeracy and rugby package
  • Deliver branded Educational and Rugby Resources to 720 schools to ensure sustainability
  • See 12 schools attend the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final to take part in a showpiece half-time event

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