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MEI FE Maths Challenge Exciting Update!

Maths Challenge group

BREAKING NEWS! Congratulations to the talented learners of Harlow College for their outstanding performance at the Regional Final of the MEI FE Maths Challenge 2024, hosted by Milton Keynes College on 15 March.

They achieved an impressive clean sweep across all three categories, seeing off competition from four other competing colleges.

Michael Lancaster, Learning Coordinator for Maths and Maths Lecturer Tendai Makuni said 'they are extremely proud of the students’ exemplary behaviour. They were the perfect ambassadors for Harlow College.

A big thank you must go to Essex County Council for sponsoring our students.

Photo: MEI FE Maths Challenge Regional Final Winners: Caidon, Klyment, Archie, Jamie, Shelby, Nana, Rosana, Shelby, Tiffani, Tia and Cindy.


The Harlow College Final of the MEI FE Maths Challenge took place on 14 February, where budding maths students, working in pairs, competed to progress to the Regional Final of this exciting national competition.

MEI’s (Mathematics Education Innovation) FE Maths Challenge is a competition for post-16 students who are working towards gaining a Functional Skills maths qualification or improving their GCSE Mathematics grade. The challenge is a highly successful way of engaging and motivating these students with maths, resulting in improved student confidence and engagement.

Teams all over England have been participating, with the competition culminating in regional finals held in colleges and sports stadiums. More than 30,000 students have already taken part, with teams competing from over 80 colleges.

At the Harlow College Final students competed in three groups for the chance to represent the college at the Regional Final. These were:

The Funkies – for students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 1

Ein2steins – for students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 2

Go Forth – for students whose highest GCSE grade is a grade 3

Harlow College Principal, Karen Spencer, herself a mathematics champion and maths teacher, officially opened the competition by welcoming the students and speaking about the importance of maths and how it can be applied to everyday life, making the point that having a maths qualification can lead to an increased salary as employers value people with a good level of maths.

Challenges included a Tarsia Puzzle and a Kahoot quiz, and after much fierce competition, the three winning pairs and three runners up pairs from each category were announced. They will now progress to the Regional Finals at the South Central Institute of Technology in Milton Keynes on 15th March.

The winners and runners up were presented with their prizes by Emma Curtis, Commissioner for Skills Development at Essex County Council, who were the generous sponsors of the event.

Speaking about the challenge, Emma said: “It was fantastic! The students were so engaged and the staff were really encouraging, it was so good. Maths is fundamental to everything we do and it’s so good to see the students engaging in something like this. In pretty much every career maths is going to be at the foundation and it’s so important to get good grades and go on to succeed in life. 

Essex County Council also run the Multiply project, a new programme funded by the UK Government to help adults improve their numeracy skills. “Multiply is helping those adults who didn’t get their grades the first time around and is giving them a better understanding of what maths is all about.”

Michael Lancaster, Learning Coordinator for Maths at Harlow College and the organiser of the event said: “I am delighted to see Harlow College students taking full advantage of this exciting maths competition involving 30,000 FE students nationwide. It is a great opportunity for them and should be great fun.”

FE Maths Challenge

Photo: Emma Curtis, ECC and Michael Lancaster, Maths Learning Coordinator, with winning teams form the FE Maths Challenge.