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Durham University expert supports Yorkshire Bank learning programme


Bank launches numeracy initiative for under 5s across UK

Pre-school children are getting a head for numbers as Yorkshire Bank launches Count Me In 123, a community-based project aimed at helping the under 5s develop numeracy skills via interactive play at home. 

The programme, which kicks off this week in 20 authorities across the country, some of which are the most deprived in Britain, aims to provide youngsters with a firm foundation in mathematics, which Durham University experts believe will result in improved numeracy skills later in life.

With Skills for Life revealing that adults without GCSE maths grades A* - Cā‚ can earn on average £8,200 less than those with, Yorkshire Bank is doing its bit to help youngsters realise their potential in the future. The Count Me In 123 learning materials are available via local libraries and include toys, books and counting exercises which have been assessed by a top education expert from Durham University. 

Dr Christine Merrell, acting primary director at the centre for evaluation & monitoring (CEM) at Durham University – one of the UK’s largest educational research units is an expert in tracking childhood progress at school: “If children are encouraged to rhyme, count a few objects and understand simple mathematical concepts such as ‘longest’ and ‘shortest’ before they start school, they are more likely to succeed with reading and maths in later years. Count Me In 123 includes activities that offer opportunities for children to practice and develop their language and mathematical understanding in a fun way.”

 Julie Wood from Leeds, whose grandson, Jake Kay, aged 14 months, had a sneak preview of Count Me In 123, said: “Jake and I borrowed the Count Me In materials from Moor Allerton library in Leeds. Jake has really enjoyed the different activities in the pack, and they’ve really helped make learning a fun experience for him.  I would encourage parents and carers to join their local library, and borrow the Count Me In 123 bags, as well as all the other wonderful resources which libraries have to offer.”

Jacqui Atkinson, community affairs manager at Yorkshire Bank, added: “Count Me In 123 provides Yorkshire Bank with the perfect vehicle to share its expertise with the communities in which it operates. We’re hoping to attract as many families as possible to our sessions and give local children a head start in maths before they go to school.

“Count Me In 123 is one of many education programmes that Yorkshire Bank produces for young people.  Other Count Me In initiatives include, Count Me In Primary, Count Me In Tune and Count Me In Web, for 11-14 year olds.”

Count Me In learning materials are also available in a number of ethnic minority languages including Hindi, Punjabi and Chinese.

For more information on Count Me In, visit
For more information on CEM at Durham University, visit 

  1. DfES: The Skills for Life survey: A national needs and impact survey of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills (RR490), London DfES

Count Me In 1 2 3 for under 5s is an extension of Count Me In Primary, available for 5 – 11 year-olds, also in local libraries. Other Yorkshire Bank Count Me In initiatives include: Count Me In for the partially sighted, Count Me In tune for children with learning difficulties and Count Me In web for 11 to 14 year-olds.

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