Colin Hegarty: Point to high-fliers to get girls into maths

The Telegraph is reporting calls for teachers to use female high-fliers and scientists as inspiration rather than using pop stars and beauty products to draw them into maths. 

Colin Hegarty, shortlisted for a $1 million-dollar prize this weekend, has also said girls need to be exposed to more stories of “amazing female mathematicians” so they know the subject isn’t just for boys. 

The Oxford University graduate believes teachers should redouble their efforts to show how maths has real implications in the world of work.

Mr Hegarty, who was the first one in his family to go into university, says that too often there is a culture of acceptance of “being bad at maths” but that parents should focus on “positive messages” to get children inspired instead.

A series of high-profile campaigns aimed at making maths and science more ‘girl-friendly’ have been recently branded as “patronising” by female scientists…

Colin Hegarty was picked from thousands of British teachers as a finalist for the Nobel Prize-style Global Teacher Prize and will find out this Sunday if he has won the £700,000 award. 

He said yesterday: “We need to tell the story of maths [being] open to women. 

“Some of the smartest mathematicians I met at university were women. 

“I teach in mixed schools and there is no difference – girls are just as good as boys. 

“I’d like to tell the story of amazing woman mathematicians throughout history and all the great contributions they’ve made. And the amazing woman scientists.”

He said maths is a subject with “many applications” and teachers should talk about it “in its real sense”. 

He said: “Telling the story about the subject is the most important thing. I’m not so sure about glamorising it…”

More at: Point to high-fliers to get girls into maths, says leading teacher


Do you think Colin Hegarty is right here? Have you seen instances where girls have become excited about doing well at maths because they found inspiration in others who had done so before?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter (and fingers crossed for Colin when the awards are announced on Sunday)…

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