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Interviewing our new National Maths Lead

With our DfE funded BASE Project (a fully funded, fully resourced resource to support Post-16 English and maths students, teachers and leaders) launching in a number of colleges around the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, we took some time out to speak to our National Maths Lead, Mark Stewart, to find out what makes him tick.

Tell us a little about yourself…

Well, I’ve been a maths teacher in the Further Education sector for over fifteen years and, in that time, I’ve worked with many inspirational and passionate teachers, and managed successful teams of equally dedicated teachers in two colleges. I’m proud to say we’ve helped thousands of students develop confidence with their maths and gain invaluable qualifications. Until recently, I was also the regional manager for the Centres for Excellence in Maths programme (CfEM), a five-year research programme aimed at improving outcomes for 16–18 year-olds resitting maths in colleges. This involved working with colleges all over the north of England, hundreds of teachers, and thousands of learners across the country. It’s this depth of experience I’m excited to bring to Create and the BASE Project!

Outside of teaching, I have three young children (all boys!) and in my spare time, I do a tremendous amount of poor-quality DIY, visit the gym less than I ought to, and ride a motorbike less than I’d like to.

What is The BASE Project?

The BASE Project is fully funded by the DfE with the specific goal of supporting FE students, teachers and leaders to achieve in English and maths. This all starts with The Development Wheel – a web and smart phone-based application which support students and teachers to identify strengths, areas for improvement, progress and next steps, and has a library of resources for teachers (lessons, PPTs, tasks, multimedia content) and students (revision materials, multimedia content). Go to our fantastic website at and see for yourself!

What brought you to The BASE Project?

Good timing and good people. The CfEM project was coming to an end and at around the same time I was put in contact with the people behind the BASE project. As soon as I spoke with them, I knew it was an amazing project and I wanted to be part of it. The opportunity to work with such a fantastic team and put everything I’d discovered into practice on a national scale was too good to miss – the idea of helping thousands of learners achieve life-changing skills and qualifications is a dream come true.

What has been your highlight in education?

Being selected as one of the twenty-one Centres for Excellence in Maths programme was pretty special – it was the result of a huge amount of hard work from a team of dedicated professionals at the top of their game.

What has been your toughest challenge?

Managing the team’s transition to online learning during the two Covid years was a huge challenge. Luckily, we had invested a lot of time embedding blended learning in the previous couple of years and managed the shift well, but as a teacher, making sure learners achieved the grade they deserved with Centre & Teacher Assessed Grades process was very tough.

What are your hopes for the future?

That the sector, with the help of the Wheel, brings about the improvements in outcomes for the 100,000 children and young adults who resit their maths and English every year that they deserve. And I finally finish all of my DIY jobs.

Thanks to Mark for sitting down with us – great to hear from our Maths Education Lead and we look forward to seeing what comes next from Mark and the team.

Want more information on the Base Project? Visit or contact Mark directly at to see the support, resources and huge impact the project and our team can have.

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This was an absolutely brilliant idea and so greatly needed in our academic culture. Being a secondary math teacher and reading accommodations specialist I do see the connection. It is not made in the classroom generally speaking. I would love to be a part of this endeavor.

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