English is important because anything you do that involves other people is done through the medium of language. If you have a poor grasp of your own language this will affect the standard of everything else you do. You can have fantastic ideas, but language is what brings them to life. If you cannot put your concepts into words, no one will ever know about them.
Maths is also used in everyday life. It is important because it allows people to take complex processes and make them more manageable, by applying structure, patterns and rules. This is a skill that transfers to many situations in both professional and personal contexts. Studying maths is a way to develop the appropriate mental tools for dealing with the complex realities of life.
Here are five detailed reasons why English and maths are so important:
1. Further study opportunities
Many further education and university courses require a good level of English and maths - regardless of the subject. Typically, Level 2 is the minimum required. Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or higher (old grading system A*-C).
2. Employment opportunities
Employers want applied and practical skills including approximation, mental arithmetic, capability with visual data, a solid grasp of units of measurement, the ability to check their own calculations and simple problem-solving. A major survey of skill levels among adults in work found that, for employers, English skills are of greatest concern. In particular communication skills (listening and speaking) such as good writing, spelling, grammar and vocabulary could be improved.
Lack of maths skills is another barrier to employment – people with low maths skills are twice as likely to be unemployed.
Employees who achieve good GCSE grades (Level 2 or equivalent) are likely to be earning at least £2,000 per year more than those who do not.
4. Mental health
There is evidence to suggest that people with higher skills in English and maths have a longer life expectancy. Very recent studies are suggesting an emerging link that people with low levels of English and maths skills are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, specifically social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which often lead to playing truant from school. Crime may become an issue too – 65% of adult prisoners have low maths skills.
With English and maths skills, you can access higher education, gain rewarding employment, earn more and potentially live a longer life.
The good news is that it’s never too late to learn. With the use of technology, learning is nothing like it was at school – no classrooms, no teacher watching over your shoulder and no strict timescales to stick to. Why not take a look at our online Functional Skills courses? You can get a course made just for you, and you can work through it in your own time, with or without the support of our specialist tutors.