In memory of Kath Hart

22 April 2013

We note with sadness the death of Kathleen Hart, a leading mathematics educator who played an important part in several Nuffield mathematics projects.

Kath began her career as a secondary school teacher, and went on to become a teacher trainer, a curriculum developer and an academic. She was a member of the development team for Nuffield Primary Mathematics in the 1960s, a pioneering project which emphasised how children learn rather than what to teach. Focusing on understanding rather than rote learning, the course was used in about half of all primary schools in England and its ethos was expressed in the title of one of the introductory guides: “I do and I understand”.

During her time as a researcher and professor at Chelsea College, University of London (which later merged with King's College London), Kath played a key role in the Concepts in Secondary Mathematics and Science (CSMS) project. She went on to edit the resulting volume, Children's Understanding of Mathematics 11-16 (1981), which is still highly valued by teachers today.

In the early 1990s, Kath was Director of Nuffield Secondary Mathematics, which was informed by the CSMS project and aimed to provide each pupil with tasks matched to their level of attainment.

Kath was a former Chair of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), an affiliated group of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), and worked with teachers and students from many different countries.

Although retired from her most recent position as Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Nottingham, she remained actively involved with mathematics education, and had only recently returned from a trip to Bangkok where she had been giving seminars for teachers.

Kathleen Hart died on 16 April 2013 aged 78.