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Newham Project Summary

The Newham pilot aimed to increase the financial capability of parents and carers, while also developing their skills and confidence to support their children with maths. Although there is a high level of need for this kind of provision in the borough, it had always proved difficult to engage parents in maths courses. The pilot courses were publicised under the title Making the Most of Your Money, and aimed to be practical and fun.

The pilot had some innovative features that were critical to its success. Citizens’ Advice co-delivered one of the sessions. Workshops were learner-led, and sessions and resources were adapted to meet the needs of different learner groups. This flexibility was important, as many learners had ESOL and basic numeracy needs which the project also had to address. Parents learned how to use the internet safely to access a wide range of free on-line resources to develop and sustain their learning beyond the classroom.


For learners

  • Learners reported that the course significantly improved their maths skills. By using the same methods that their children were taught at school, parents/carers found easy ways to work out maths problems and increased their confidence to support their children with their maths homework. Some learners highlighted that maths is often taught differently in different countries, so they had found it beneficial to learn specifically about the methods used in the UK.
  • They were more confident to manage their money and found the session with Citizens Advice particularly informative.
  • The course gave children a greater understanding of the importance of prioritising money. Outside of the sessions, parents/carers gave their children more opportunities to make financial decisions such as what products to buy in supermarkets, helping them to understand which brands represented better value and the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
  • All the learners felt more positive about learning and many were keen to progress onto another course. Some of the learners enrolled onto an extra four-week maths course and have now  taken Functional Skills maths exam and gained a formal qualification.
  • By the end of the programme, most of the learners were actively seeking work and some had expressed an interest in training to become a teaching assistant or childcare worker.

For tutors

  • The tutors found that because the levels of the learners varied considerably, they had to adapt their teaching style and lesson plans, developing their understanding of how to differentiate maths activities.
  • In order to involve learners with ESOL needs, tutors found it useful to encourage peer support and asked learners to help each other where possible, especially if they spoke the same language.
  • The success of the practical activities has encouraged tutors to plan more ambitious sessions for future courses, such as taking learners to a supermarket, splitting them into two teams, and running a competition to see which team can find the best value products or buy ingredients to make the most meals within a set budget.
  • The tutors realised that learning the basics of financial capability can be very beneficial for those who have English as an additional language, as it makes them less vulnerable to cold callers. Tutors therefore gained a great sense of satisfaction from the feeling that they had made a very positive impact on learners’ lives...
  • Newham Adult Learning Service developed stronger partnerships with local organisations such as Citizens Advice. Tutors were already planning to deliver more sessions with the local Citizens Advice Bureau and were hoping to build on this relationship in the future.
  • Their improved partnerships with local schools and the Forest Gate Learning Zone meant that the service was able to engage target learners groups which it had previously found difficult to reach.

Case Study

Newham Adult Learning Service

The aim of Newham Adult Learning Service’s Family Numeracy pilot wasto support learners in deprived areas who have English as an additional language and may struggle to engage with learning due to family commitments. The programme was delivered in the purpose-built adult education centre at Forest Gate Learning Zone, which is located in an area of Newham with particularly high levels of poverty. Tutors decided to focus on financial capability as their previous work in this community had highlighted a need for families to learn how to manage their money effectively.


Scheme of Work for Family Learning Numeracy Joint Programme

To raise awareness and understanding of everyday financial issues e.g. banking options, budgeting, saving and paying bills. To help children gain basic understanding of the concept of money in terms of spending and saving To develop numeracy skills of both parents and children. By exploring a range of money games and activities for children To gain basic understanding of finance through practical, real activities.

Lesson plan 1  - Rounding and Estimating

Financial Capability - Four rules of maths, and decimal notation.

Lesson plan 2 - Understanding Fractions

Financial Capability - Working with fractions in day to day life.

Lesson plan 3 - Percentages and Budgets 

Financial Capability - Understanding percentages, budgets and debts

Lesson plan 4 - Making sense of money

Financial Capability - Borrowing money

Lesson plan 5 - Bank accounts and Debit/Credit cards

Financial Capability - Understanding bank accounts, debit and credit cards 

Lesson plan 6 - Using technology and Final review

Financial Capability - Saving money and time using technology, getting the best deals.