Tribal to support new UK government programme addressing low levels of adult numeracy

Posted by Mat Kirby

Tribal Education Services to support the piloting of promising initiatives as part of the UK government programme to address low levels of adult numeracy.

The Department for Education (DfE) has appointed Tribal Education Services to support the delivery of a suite of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) as part of the Multiply adult numeracy programme, which aims to address low levels of adult numeracy. The work will see Tribal Education Services oversee the delivery and funding of RCTs in England which test promising approaches to improving adult numeracy, supporting more effective delivery of adult numeracy provision, and helping increase value for money from HMG spend in adult education.

The Multiply adult numeracy programme, is the government’s commitment to addressing low levels of adult numeracy - 17 million adults in England have everyday maths skills roughly equivalent to those expected of a primary school child (Entry Level) – placing England below the OECD average.

The programme allows all adults 19+ who want to improve their numeracy (up to, and including, Level 2 or equivalent) to access free flexible courses that fit around their lives, whether that be at work or in the evening, part-time or intensive.

The Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), which will run in England, are an essential component of the programme, piloting the most promising products and approaches to improving adult numeracy.

Between November 2023 and October 2025, a team of 9 Tribal colleagues will recruit local areas and learning providers to take part in the RCTs and oversee the delivery and funding of the associated activities.

Matt Davis, Tribal Education Services Managing Director, commented on the recent awarding:

“We’re delighted to be appointed by the Department for Education to support this critical work that will help bring about improved numeracy provision for so many adult learners and ultimately improve their qualifications and job opportunities. Having that evidence base for what works is such an essential component to the success of Multiply and we’re looking forward to working with local areas and adult learning providers across the sector to support the evaluation of the most promising models and once again help the Department for Education achieve its strategic goals.”

The Multiply RCT work is the latest in a long line of large-scale, long-term, high-impact intervention programmes awarded to Tribal Education Services by the DfE; these include the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) raising numeracy levels via 40 regional maths hubs; the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP) delivered in partnership with MEI to increase participation in advanced maths; the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) quality assuring the network of 68 tuition partners; and the National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) Quality Assurance program to quality assure and continuously improve NPQ provision.

Multiply adult numeracy programme in numbers:

  • Seventeen million adults in England - have everyday maths skills roughly equivalent to those expected of a primary school child (Entry Level). This compares poorly internationally – below the OECD average.
  • The UK Government has committed that the first priority of the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the Multiply adult numeracy programme. Up to £270m in funding is available to local areas in England to deliver innovative adult numeracy provision.
  • Of the 10 million adults without a Level 2 in English and/or Maths, only 344,000 took funded English and Maths Level 2 qualifications in 2018/19.


Tribal Education Services, part of Tribal Group, partners with governments and education institutions in the UK, the USA, Middle East, and globally who need help to deliver on their strategic ambitions to improve the quality and impact of education. This is achieved through designing and implementing programmes which deliver positive change at scale, by measuring and improving educational quality.


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