A Bit About Me

My life story...


I used to HATE maths. Like many, I enjoyed it while I was younger but when it came to algebra and more advanced work, I got very lost indeed. It seemed to be manipulating symbols on a page for no reason. And it felt embarrassing to ask why you were doing this. Everyone else seemed to know except me. After scraping through my A-level, at university I found no escape, as it was even worse! Lecturers would just write equations on the board and say 'it's easy!'. When I was shown a formula in tutorials, I didn't even recognise the letters! 


Naturally I blamed myself for all this and felt like giving up, and developed a hatred for maths. However, for some reason I kept trying to understand it. After 2 years of misery, and failure, I was threatened with having to leave the university. I began to realise the problem - I didn't understand it, and I was trying to fool the examiner into thinking I did. Memorisation of methods which made no sense with symbols I didn't know, was NOT the way to go! I decided I needed to go back to a point I did understand and work back from there. I hid myself away for the summer and started again. 


What happened was that I taught myself to learn maths in a different way to school and this sprung a new way of thinking about it. When it came to exams, suddenly my grades trebled from 30 to 90% plus. What was the difference? I understood what I was doing and why. I became so enthused by maths as a result that I changed courses to mathematics! I began tutoring 1st years, and then school students for a little extra money - but mostly to share my new found enthusiasm. And that is where I received my real education.


I began to learn that students learned maths the same way - and this was encouraged by school - rote memorisation of methods, with no understanding why. If a student asked 'why?' they were told 'it just is' or 'you don't need to know that'. [Why, is it classified?]. The books were horrifying, using too formal language for simple ideas, over complicated and lacking context or any intuition.


I became passionate about creating a method that is designed for human brains - intuitive, contextual, easier to do, more efficient, fits into the maths landscape as a whole and is fun and satisfying! I didn't like the long multplication/grid method/chinese/japanese methods of multplication, so in a flash of inspiration one day, I changed it to a method where you just write the answer down. I then realised it had many applications, meaning you needed one method for 11 different things! Instead of 11 different methods to remember. 


I took this approach to many methods and even got rid of some unnecessary things. One of my students asks me 'How did you even think of this!?!'.


Students are actually taught wrong things at school and these have to be corrected! For example, few genuinely understand area or its definition. This is not their fault... but it is no wonder students can't succeed at maths - they are sabotaged from the start!


After 23 years of this I have been able to help many students who have gone from being in a horrible place to a happy one. 


I still enjoy trying to find better ways to do things and showing ideas in an easier light, which is far more intuitive. Sometimes students' eyes almost pop out at how easy it can be. [They also become instantly frustrated - not at me, but at school! 'Why didn't they teach me like this years ago!']


As a result of this new approach, I myself have benefitted from being able to work through an engineering degree in my spare time, and now tutor/lecture those very same modules for the university. 


Lastly, I have created a new method that eliminates 2 complicated formulae for binomial expansion into one single and intuitive approach, a part of which finds any line of Pascal's triangle with ease. I have tested this approach on students as young as 12, who have picked it up immediately. It quickly and easily finds any number to any power. It also enables one to be able to find any cofficients of a binomial to any power which is a real number. [That one is for any mathematicians reading this!]


Some of my exploits;


  • Bachelor's Degree from the University of St Andrews
  • Bachelor's degree (2:1) in Engineering at the Open University
  • Published Author - Naked Numbers (2010)
  • Author of 'Guarantee A Top Grade in GCSE Maths'
  • A* in GCSE maths
  • A at A-Level maths
  • Maths Tutor for 23 years (yikes)
  • Associate Lecturer In Engineering and Mathematics at the Open University
  • Currently studying:
  • Paramotor flying training
  • Polish and Irish languages
  • Advanced Calculus
  • Mechanical Engineering: heat and flow



  • Level 3 Award in Teaching and Education
  • I learnt to be an Avionics Maintenance Engineer on the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet in parallel with a degree in Engineering
  • I have flown a Tornado GR4 fighter jet
  • Recipient of an Operational Service Medal and Jubilee Medal
  • (I am also on Netflix!)




"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."


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