Up to 60 Shanghai maths teachers are to be brought to England to raise standards, in an exchange arranged by the Department for Education.
They will provide masterclasses in 30 “maths hubs”, which are planned as a network of centres of excellence.
The Chinese city’s maths pupils have the highest international test results.
The announcement comes as a campaign is launched to raise adult maths skills, with warnings that poor numeracy is costing the UK economy £20bn per year.
The National Numeracy Challenge aims to improve numeracy levels for a million people.
It is providing an online self-assessment test – with help for those lacking in confidence in maths.
Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy, says 78% of working-age adults have maths skills below the equivalent of a GCSE grade C – and that half only have the maths skills of a child leaving primary school.