Nearly a third of UK parents admit they don’t feel confident enough in their own maths skills to help their children with their primary school maths homework, according to new research.

Only one in 20 parents will tackle maths work that is intended for children aged eight to 12, and admit that new teaching methods have put them off helping their child with sums, times tables and other mathematical school work.

Based on interviews with 2,005 parents of primary school age children across the UK, who were also asked to complete a maths quiz of ten questions, the results show that mums and dads find Maths one of the hardest subjects for them to help their children to master, beaten only by French.

Just five per cent of parents surveyed answered all ten Year 4 to 7 maths questions correctly, whilst only nine per cent got nine out of 10 correct and 15 per cent got eight out of 10 correct. A quarter of parents got 4 out of 10 answers correct or less.

The results also showed that 65 per cent of parents worry that if they do help with maths homework they will simply confuse their child thanks to new teaching methods.

As a result children’s academic performance could be suffering. Last year a study of 10,000 children by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California, found that parental involvement was a more significant factor in a child’s academic performance than the qualities of the school itself.

Despite 58 per cent of mums and dads feeling that maths skills were essential for progression in today’s world, less than half (44 per cent) knew exactly what maths their child should have mastered by their current school age.

Carol Vorderman said: “Studies have shown that if parents help their children with homework they are more likely to succeed at school. It is therefore worrying that so many parents lack confidence in their own maths skills.

“It’s imperative that children are given the opportunity to learn maths in a way that is fun, accessible and engaging, both at home and in the classroom.”

The research coincides with the launch of a new primary school maths homework service, Maths Made Easy by learning company Pearson and accompanying workbooks published by DK. 

Carol added:“Both Maths Made Easy and my online maths school,, combine traditional and new ways of learning maths to deliver improvements in maths ability.

“Handily, parents can log on to the Maths Made Easy service to see how their child is progressing and even try their hand at the same exercises as their child.”

The public are invited to put their maths skills to the test by taking a special test online.

Test your skills

The ‘How good is your maths?’ test, which was issued to survey respondents, uses a range of maths questions taken from the Carol Vorderman Maths Made Easy series. All of the questions are relevant to the maths which is currently taught to years 4, 5, 6 and 7 at school.

Tell us your thoughts on these findings in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK


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