Joy of Maths

  • Katy L. Dobson University of Leeds
Keywords: Mathematics, outreach, mature learners, widening participation, lifelong learning


For many mature students, mathematics can be a threshold concept which becomes a barrier to their opportunities. To tackle this, for the past two years the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds has trialed an outreach programme for mature learners called ‘Joy of Maths’. Joy of Maths aims to illustrate the beauty and fun of maths whilst imparting practical skills. Many of the mature learners who have attended Joy of Maths sessions have a deep-seated fear of maths due to previous bad experiences. In the sessions we demystify concepts and hence their negative beliefs and build confidence to illustrate the possibilities for their further learning journey. We will show that as a consequence several of the learners have chosen to return to education either by returning to FE or by successfully applying to courses at the University of Leeds.  


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Author Biography

Katy L. Dobson, University of Leeds

Katy has a first class (hons) MMATH degree, a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science and a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Since 2003 she has been employed by the University of Leeds as a mathematical specialist working in conjunction with multiple departments to improve mathematical teaching. She has been based in the Lifelong Learning Centre since 2013, teaching and facilitating mathematics and coding on Science foundation programmes and as part of outreach and engagement work with widening participation students.

Her email address is