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Grandparents urged to learn

23rd September 2005

Figures released for the government's "Get On" campaign reveal that over half of all 55 to 65-year-olds in England lack some of the skills that would help them better support their grandchildren's learning.

Grandparents are the number one carers for children in Britain after parents, spending on average around 16 hours a week with their grandchildren, and because of this, the campaign is calling for more over-55s to take action and banish their numeracy and literacy gremlins.

The government's Skills for Life Survey shows that adults in the 55 to 65-year-old group have the biggest skills need in England. In particular, this generation tends to have problems with maths, and as a result struggle with everyday tasks.

In fact, over half (53 per cent) of all 55 to 65-year-olds have maths skills expected of a nine-year-old. This means they are likely to have trouble helping older grandchildren with their homework, adjusting the servings in a recipe, or budgeting for a day trip.

At the same time, they will also find it difficult to work out the price of discounted goods in a sale, read bus and train timetable information correctly or check the accuracy of household bills.

Age Concern is supporting the Get On campaign's call for more over-55s to brush up their skills. Gordon Lishman, the director general of Age Concern England, said: "It is never too late to learn. Developing interests and passions at any age is a fantastic way to boost confidence and stay mentally and physically active. As well as being a great achievement, the skills and experiences older people can pass on to their grandchildren are invaluable."