Nelson and Colne College Group’s Assistant Principal to sit on PMs Expert Advisory Group for Maths Drive 

Local College Assistant Principal, Fionnuala Swann, has been granted a prestigious chair within the Prime Minister’s expert advisory group to support his ‘Maths to 18’ plan.  

Rishi Sunak’s plan, outlined back in January, will aim to implement some form of compulsory mathematics taught to all British students up to the age of 18. This, according to Mr Sunak, is to change what he referred to as the country’s “anti maths mindset” and to boost the country’s economic progression. 

The expert advisory group is comprised of mathematicians, college education leaders and business representatives. As such, Nelson and Colne College’s Fionnuala Swann will be amongst esteemed company. Other members of the group include an architect of the national curriculum, a former Ofqual boss and the CEO of the credit card giant Capital One UK. The full list of members can be found below: 

  • 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)

When asked about the appointment, Principal and CEO of the Nelson and Colne College Group, Lisa O’Loughlin said:

“I am absolutely thrilled that Fionnuala has been appointed to this expert advisory group. 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.”

Fionnuala was asked if she would join the group largely because of Nelson and Colne College’s (NCC) excellent reputation for Maths success with student’s aged 16-18 and the value in which NCC place on maths qualifications. NCC were awarded an Outstanding rating at their last OFSTED inspection in March of last year (the only Further Education College in Lancashire to currently hold this title) and have also been recognised by the Department for Education as a Centre for Excellence in Maths.  

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. 

When commenting on her inclusion in the Expert Advisory Group, Fionnuala Swann said:

“I am delighted to have been selected to sit on the expert advisory group and advise the government on how to deliver its plan to extend maths education to 18. 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.” 

Chair of the Board of Corporation at Nelson and Colne College Group, Phil Wilkinson, also expressed how pleased he was about the appointment, stating:

“I am delighted with the news. Fionnuala will be a fantastic asset to the advisory group and the work she does at the Nelson and Colne College Group, both within the field of Mathematics and in enhancing the aspirations of our student outcomes overall, cannot be understated.”    

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