Chris Pritchard (2024)

Chris has been changing the face of mathematics in Scotland (and beyond) since 1983. Originally from Wales, Chris came to Scotland via a six-year stint in London to accept the post of Principal Teacher of Mathematics at Daliburgh School on the Isle of South Uist. Challenging enough was the adaptation from an inner-city school to a remote island school, Chris was also tasked with making the new Standard Grade in Mathematics accessible and relevant to his Western Isles pupils. This experience significantly shaped Chris’s contributions to Scottish Mathematical education over his career.

Chris, with his new book “On the Plus Side”

Chris moved from South Uist to assume the role of Principal Teacher of Mathematics at McLaren High School in Callander, where he stayed until his retirement 28 years later. During his time at McLaren, Chris wrote his first book for the Mathematical Association, authored an incredible number of SMC Journal articles – he was Editor for 18 years – and even found time to complete his doctorate on Francis Galton and the birth of regression.

Since his “retirement” Chris has served as Secretary of the Mathematical Association and co-editor of Mathematics in School, and he was elected as the Association’s President for 2021-22. In 2024, he took on the role of Secretary of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation. Finally, he has written a further nine books, the most recent of which, On the Plus Side, the Scottish Mathematical Council was pleased to provide free to delegates at the 2024 conference.

The composition, nature, and output of the SMC changed significantly under Chris’s leadership from 2014 to 2019, establishing it as an important voice in Scottish mathematics education. Chris sought to extend the services that the Council provides to primary teachers (and pupils). This was achieved by increasing the number of primary education specialists on the Council, soliciting more primary education material at the SMC Conference, and launching the SMC Primary Journal. Allied to this was the vast output Chris created for Maths Week Scotland in the Daily Mathematical Challenge. Of course, secondary mathematics education was also catered for in some of this output, alongside other projects such as the design of materials for classroom use on democratic elections.

We witnessed a fantastic expansion of the SMC Journal during Chris’s 18 years as Editor, having now a vibrant, colourful journal with articles of interest to educators and mathematicians at all levels.

His enthusiasm and drive pulls in educators from all levels of the Scottish mathematics landscape. The Council, and by extension Scottish mathematics, has grown significantly due to his involvement and leadership.

Chris, with Bill Richardson MBE and Adam McBride OBE.

Finally, it was Chris who was responsible for the creation and first presentation of the SMC Achievement Award in 2016. It seems fitting that this award should find its way into the hands of the person who strove so hard for the celebration of mathematics and mathematics teachers.

It is the honour of the Scottish Mathematical Council to present Dr Chris Pritchard with the Scottish Mathematical Council Achievement Award for 2024.