Nick McIvor

Maths Teacher
University Tutor

I currently work in Mathematics teacher training at the UCL Institute of Education in London.   Before moving into teacher education full-time in 2020, I spent 25 years in the the classroom, and prior to that, enjoyed a decade working as a writer and performer in theatre and TV.  My research interests reflect this rather eclectic career history, and I am currently working on a PhD investigating the way expert maths teachers improvise in the classroom.

Interests and Expertise


Most teachers develop this capacity during their early years in classroom, but some find it easier than others.  I was in the group that find it harder,  but eventually discovered that I could 'do authoritative' by drawing on some of the skills I learned as a performer.  For a 30-minute video demonstrating some of the basic ideas click here.  For a more academic account click here.


The capacity to re-plan mid-lesson in response to pupil needs is one of the markers of an accomplished teacher.  It requires a combination of spontaneity and intuition that echo the skills used by improvisational performers, although unlike their onstage counterparts, their success is measured, not by laughter or applause, but by the learning gains of their students.   In spite of these differences, the possibility of adapting well-established theatre techniques to enhance teacher expertise is too appealing to ignore.  For more on how this might be approached click here


A post-16 course for those who have passed GCSE but do not wish to pursue A-level.  With a UCAS tariff equivalent to AS, it was first examined in 2016 and is now recognised by many universities.  I was involved in the initial rollout and have created an extensive suite of video and accompanying print resources which can be accessed via this handbook.

Professional Experience

 2019 - present

Maths Education Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Education

1996 - 2020

Mathematics teacher in London secondary schools

1985 - 1995

Writer and performer for TV, radio and stage


 2018 - present

PhD Candidate at the UCL Institute of Education

2014 - 2017

MRes (Distinction) at the Institute of Education, London

1995 - 1996

PGCE at the Institute of Education, London

1981 - 1984

BSc (Hons 2:1) Mathematics at the University of York

1984 - 1985

Diploma in Theatre Studies at the Sherman Theatre, University College Cardiff

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