College leader to chair government's maths plan

By Tim Aldred

24 Apr 2023

Fionnuala Swann

Fionnuala Swann, assistant principal of Nelson and Colne College, will chair Rishi Sunak’s expert advisory group to support his Maths to 18 plan. 

The prime minister's plan was outlined in January and aims to implement some form of compulsory mathematics taught to all British students up to the age of 18. 

Fionnuala represents Nelson and Colne College, which was awarded an Outstanding rating at its last OFSTED inspection in March of last year and has been recognised by the Department for Education as a Centre for Excellence in Maths. 

The expert advisory group is comprised of mathematicians, college education leaders and business representatives including an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of the credit card giant Capital One UK.

Fionnuala said: "Both the college and I believe passionately in the value of maths and its crucial role to enable young people to progress in their education and future careers. 

"As a member of a Maths Centre for excellence and OFSTED outstanding provider, my focus will be on advising on what the necessary maths knowledge and skills are needed and whether a new qualification is required.”

Lisa O’Loughlin, principal and CEO of the Nelson and Colne College Group, added: "Her appointment is a testament to her exceptional leadership, her unwavering commitment to mathematics education and her ability to inspire and support our students to achieve remarkable things in this field.

"We are incredibly proud of her, and this appointment further showcases our dedication to providing high quality mathematics education for all students." 

The group will conduct its work between April and July 2023 with the intention to develop a key strategy for how the British education system can compete, mathematically, with global competitors. The experts will then meet with the prime minister and the secretary of state for education in order to discuss their findings.

The full advisory panel

  • Fionnuala Swann (Assistant Principal, Nelson and Colne College Group) 
  • Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE (Chancellor, University of Leicester) 
  • Peter Cooper (Executive Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Heart of Mercia Multi-Academy Trust) 
  • Lucy-Marie Hagues (Chief Executive Officer, Capital One UK) 
  • Professor Jeremy Hodgen (Professor of Mathematics Education, University College London) 
  • Simon Lebus (Non-Executive Chairman, Sparx) 
  • Tim Oates CBE (Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge University Press and Assessment) 
  • Charlie Stripp MBE (Chief Executive Officer, Mathematics in Education and Industry, and director, National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics)

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