Alan Smalley

Name: Alan Smalley
Department: Secondary and Further Education
Current position: Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education
Location: Ormskirk Main Campus, Faculty of Education



Alan has been with Edge Hill University since 2010 and is currently the SKE Mathematics Course Leader.

Alan has taught a range of undergraduate modules in Mathematics and now teaches extensively on the SKE and PGCE Mathematics programmes.


  • MSC (Manchester) 1987
  • QTS 1978
  • BSc Honours (Manchester) 1976


Alan has over 40 years experience in the teaching of Mathematics at all levels.

Senior roles have included:

  • 2007-2012 Head of Mathematics at St Hilda’s CE High School, Liverpool

Alan was also seconded to the Senior Leadership Team and a member of the School Curriculum team.

  • 2002-2007 Head of Mathematics at Eccles Sixth Form College, Salford

Alan was a Staff Governor and part of the College Liaison Team, working with Y10 and Y11 in local high schools. Alan was a proactive member of the Teaching and Standards Group.

  • 1997-2002 Head of Mathematics at Wigan & Leigh FE College

Alan had a significant role in Community Education and Quality Assurance alongside his curriculum portfolio.


Research Interests:

MSc Dissertation on Computer Assisted timetabling.

At Edge Hill University Alan has been involved in:

  • A Practice Based Research Project based around Mathematical Anxiety
  • A Project on Learner Response systems
  • A Project on Improving feedback to include disadvantaged learners

Research Groups:

Alan has always taken a proactive part in initiatives that support learning in the classroom. In 2002 Alan joined a team working with Dr Malcolm Swann and Jane Imrie at Nottingham University, looking at the teaching of GCSE Mathematics through discussion and reflection. The team also produced the materials that became the model for the Standards Unit folders.

Interests and Achievements:


Alan’s focus has always been on teaching and learning and effective classroom practice.

In recent years Alan’s curriculum roles have allowed him to be at the heart of the many curriculum changes that have influenced the the teaching of Mathematics. Alan’s view is that, ultimately, it is not changes to the curriculum and external assessment, rather the quality of teaching and learning taking place in the classroom that determines how successful young people are at mastering mathematical skills.


Alan has worked in a variety of schools and colleges in the Secondary, Sixth Form, FE and HE sectors. In that time he has taught Mathematics across the full range of academic programmes from KS3 up to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level. Alan has also taught on vocational programmes ranging from Basic Skills Numeracy through to HND Level.

As Alan’s career progressed, he assumed increasing levels of responsibility and has held the Head of Department role in all three of the Secondary School, Sixth Form College and Further Education sectors.

Alan has successfully led each of his departments through Ofsted inspections.

Professional Development/Enhancement:

At Edge Hill University, Alan has embraced the school improvement agenda and have become involved in supporting staff in a variety of schools. Alan worked as part of the team that set up and co-ordinated the Future Teachers Partnership Programme (one of the first of the school based PGCE programmes) and has been involved in a number of projects based around the use of technology in the secondary classroom.

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