Here’s a transcript of how the interview went.

Host:     I am really looking forward to making mocktails in the studio. I love me a mocktail. Thing is though, not so much looking forward to testing my math skills, actually sweating, feeling quite nervous about it.

North Yorkshire Council have come up with some creative ways to make learning maths fun as part of the government’s program Multiply. Angie Taylor is from the authority. She’s popped into the studio today to put me through my paces and actually just quench my thirst as well. Angie-

Angie Taylor:      All right.

Host:     I hope so. Good to see you, thank you so much. Describe what’s in front of you right now.

Angie:   So I have got a clear plastic jug and some sparkling white grape juice, some slimline tonic, and some cranberry and raspberry juice drink.

Host:     Ooh. Do you know what, what is not to love about a mocktail? What are you going to make this morning?

Angie:   Well, so this we call the cranberry sunrise. When I make this for myself, I do like to use pink grapefruit juice instead of the cranberry. But very early on we learned that actually grapefruit juice doesn’t go with a lot of medications, so we had to switch that out. There’s something in grapefruit juice that I think exacerbates the active ingredients in medications, so you’re warned away from it with a lot of stuff.

So can’t use that. So we switched to cranberry juice, which links in with another class that we do called Wellness with Food, which looks into antioxidants and the benefits of antioxidants in our day-to-day to really help us with today’s living. So that cranberry juice really links in with that because it’s very healthy.

Host:     And the maths side. Are you a maths whiz?

Angie:   Not at all. Not at all. I did my GCSE back in 1991, so there’s a clue to how old I am now, and I just scraped a C. I think if I was put back in the exam room now, I wouldn’t be getting a C this time.

Host:     Yeah.

Angie:   But I do, I love the project. And I do love maths, and in a previous life I was a primary school teacher and loved doing maths with the kids at school because actually it is a lot of fun.

Host:     Is it?

Angie:   Yes.

Host:     Is it?

Angie:   I promise you.

Host:     Now, I’m being honest, because I’m genuinely anxious right now, I didn’t pass my maths GCSE. I have a hope of being able to do it again. This is something that is on the list, I need to take my maths GCSE again so that I know that I’m not stupid.

Angie:   No. Oh my goodness.

Host:     That’s how I feel. But I feel really anxious at the thought of trying to do something mathematical. Numbers, I just start sweating. How important is it to have fun when doing it?

Angie:   Massively. Because if people are having fun with their maths, they’ll remember that and that’ll be stored up in their brain, and they’re more likely to remember it.

When that fear comes across, and I see this a lot, as soon as we mention the maths side of our classes people are like, “Oh my goodness.” And it’s really not like that, your brain actually is going into reticular hijack, which is when that fear comes over. And you’re not going to be able to learn anything, think straight or accomplish anything.

So we want to get rid of that, get people thinking that maths is fun again, and that’s what all our classes are about-

Host:     I love this.

Angie:   … whether it’s the murder mystery, the mocktails.

Host:     This is such a good phrase, reticular hijack.

Angie:   Oh, yeah. See, I learned that in a primary school training session once. It’s what happens when there certain people come and observe your lessons in a primary school.

Host:     Reticular hijack.

Angie:   Everyone’s like, “Oh my God.”

Host:     Should we have a go then?

Angie:   Yes.

Host:     Go on, make some for us then. And then tell me how you work the maths in with it as well.

Angie:   Okay. So there’s a variety of maths within this class, and when we make the mocktail at the very beginning, so that people can enjoy it while we do the quiz and everything else, we’re looking at ratios. So maybe something that you haven’t had to think about. Some of our learners who do lots of baking might be up on their ratios. And then we compare that with percentages, which always puts fear across people’s faces.

So this is the white sparkling grape juice, put that whole bottle… How many mils is that? That’s 750 mils. And that makes up two parts of our mocktail. Then we’re going to add one part of the cranberry and raspberry juice drink, and one part of the slimline tonic. So if two parts of that is sparkling grape juice, that’s actually 50% of our [inaudible 00:04:31].

Host:     I was ahead of you there.

Angie:   Oh, brilliant. You were already thinking that, excellent. So if I were to ask you, what’s that in terms of a fraction?

Host:     Is that a quarter? No, no, it’s a half.

Angie:   Exactly.

Host:     Yes, it’s a half.

Angie:   Yes, it’s half.

Host:     See, it’s that reticular whatever.

Angie:   Exactly, exactly. It is. Oh, dear me. Your brain knows exactly what it’s doing, it’s just the fear.

Host:     Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Angie:   So we’ve got our two parts sparkling grape juice drink, which we said was 50%. I’m now going to add one part of the cranberry.

Host:     That takes it up to 75%.

Angie:   Oh, fantastic.

Host:     Yeah, yeah. Excellent.

Angie:   Of the whole mocktail. Wow, you’re on fire.

Host:     I can hear people at home going, “Gosh, she is stupid, isn’t she?”

Angie:   No, no. And then as a whole, what percentage of that mocktail is cranberry?

Host:     Okay, so that is I would say three quarters. Would you say?

Angie:   So it’s three quarters now until we’ve put the other tonic in. So we had 50% of sparkling grape and then we’ve got-

Host:     Another 25%?

Angie:   Yes, 25% cranberry.

Host:     Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Angie:   Or as a fraction, that is a quarter.

Host:     Yes, that is a quarter. Yes, of course. Yes.

Angie:   Then the last thing we’re going to add…

Host:     Oh, nice opening skills there. Great sound.

Angie:   It’s the tonic. And that, again, is one part, or 25%, of the whole mocktail.

And the reason we use ratios, percentages, fractions is so that if you use measurements of like milliliters, then you’d get a bit stuck if you had a different size container. So if I was just going to make this up in a cup, then I’d just have to remember the 50% sparkling grape, the 25% of tonic and the 25% of cranberry.

So now I’ve made that up.

Host:     Oh, am I going to try it now? Lovely color, yeah.

Angie:   Yes, I’m going to pour you some.

Host:     Nice purply color there. How many people are coming along to your classes then?

Angie:   Well, it really varies. And there’s no limit on numbers. Can I pass this across to you?

Host:     Yeah, yeah, go on. Go ahead, yes. I want to taste this. And what kind of people are coming as well?

Angie:   So a real mixture, we’ve had… So I’m working at the moment with Foundation UK, which is the homeless charity. And we’re focused on the air fryer classes that we do and Wellness with Food, which is great for setting them up with something when they move onto living independently. And also care leavers.

And we worked with parents and grandparents. Something that we have as part of the project is our online maths, which you can do on your phone, tablet, laptop, and earn a £20 shopping voucher for completing the first class.

Host:     Oh, this is good.

Angie:   Oh, and I absolutely love that. And that’s been brilliant for parents and grandparents, because there’s classes in there that look at the maths being taught in years 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 at school.

Host:     I have no idea what they’re doing. No idea.

Angie:   No. And the language is so different to when we were at school doing maths, the methods are different. And it just really helps parents and grandparents to see how their kids are learning maths now.

Host:     Oh, I’m going to do this. How do we find out about that? Where do we go?

Angie:   Right. Well, so we now have a website, which is MultiplyNYorks.co.uk, that N Yorks stands for North Yorkshire. And on that website are all the upcoming events.

But also in the drop-down menu at the side, you can go to how to support yourself in day-to-day maths. If you click on there and then scroll down to the bottom, there’s a sign-up where you can go to get details for this Century maths, which is essentially on your phone, whatever device. And then that will link you up to me and I can keep in touch with you. And then I will be sending you the voucher when I can see that you finished your first class.

Host:     Excellent.

Angie:   And add all sorts of other classes. So there’s people now moving on to qualifications. So they didn’t get their GCSE at school, so now moving into going back to GCSE, or functional skills-

Host:     This is what I mean.

Angie:   Absolutely.

Host:     I love this.

Angie:   And you might be more interested in the functional skills level two than GCSE. It’s equivalent-

Host:     Oh my gosh, that sounds a bit advanced to me.

Angie:   No, it’s not. And I just think if I’d had that option at school, I might have chosen that instead, because it’s really real life maths as opposed to lots of [inaudible 00:08:55].

Host:     Yeah. I want to stop that feeling of fear, because I think that takes over. The people that you teach, what do they say to you? Does it make a difference? How have their lives changed?

Angie:   Oh, yeah. No, hugely. So in some instances we’ve had lots of learners go from that online maths into our face-to-face classes, going back and getting their functional skills or their GCSE. And it’s been that online maths that’s given that confidence to think, “Okay, I can do this,” and to have a go. And it is all funded through the council.

Host:     Did you just say free?

Angie:   Yeah.

Host:     Love it. It’s lovely.

Angie:   Yes, it really is.

Host:     Oh, this is happening. This is definitely happening.

Angie:   Yeah, you have to. [inaudible 00:09:36] a lot of people.

Host:     I love it. Thank you so much for coming in, Angie, making me a mocktail. This is the best Wednesday ever. Thank you so much for coming in. A real pleasure.

Angie:   Thank you for having me.

Host:     I suspect lots of people are going to be signing up for this.

Angie:   I really… Yes, please do.

Host:     I definitely am. I do want to stop that fear inside me.

Angie:   Mm-hmm.

Host:     Angie Taylor at North Yorkshire County Council as part of the government’s program, Multiply, helping you learn through mocktails. Come on.