Resources for Further Maths A Level


how many dates each century form an arithmetic series – not many!

today promises to be an interesting day on several scores

  1. we are having the first meeting of the new Vox Scotland Board in Glasgow and i feel ready to take on the challenging role of Chair. should keep me busy and out of trouble for the next 2 or 3 years.
  2. first attempt with a bank – mine, the Co-op, to raise funds to buy myself a new place; or should that read palace? growing mushrooms in the air-raid shelter, extracting heat from the river, growing vegetables on the tennis court – numerous ideas on how to use the large house and its equally large grounds
  3. getting a friend who works for STV to pitch to his editor the full UWC scholarship opportunity there is for a scottish S4/S5 pupil to attend Pearson College, Vancouver Island from Aug ’16. not that i plan to do the piece to camera myself – we’ll recruit perhaps a couple of the numerous UWC grads studying here in Edinburgh, far more photogenic than me.

remember the theory of why buses come in threes – i wonder if applies to major life events/opportunities too?

10 orgs / 5 days / 3 countries

Heading home back to Edinburgh from Freiburg after an all too short stay with Kris @ UWCRBC;

[car -> train -> bus 1 -> bus 2 – > plane -> tram -> walk]

Saturday 12/9: to AGM of Bipolar Scotland; sobering to come 5th out of 5 candidates to join the Board. Bought 20 fundraising tins to sit in shops / bars – won’t raise much – but given their financial crisis at the moment, every penny helps.

Then to Kirkmichael to show Turtles can Fly as part of Secret Cinema. Proved concept of showing films in Pine Trees Lodge was sound, even if only Miles joined me in watching the film.

Not every day Kirkmichael gets listed alongside London, Tokyo …

turtles film

Bed @ Beinno, Glenderby, Perthshire

[walk -> train -> walk || walk -> train -> bus -> bus -> car]

Sunday 13/9: travel day – but took the opportunity to upgrade my salesman’s clothes in Perth.

struggled to find somewhere to eat in Kendal late on a sunday evening – never thought i’d be so keen to eat in  Witherspoons

Bed @ Lindsay’s, Kendal

[car -> bus -> train x 3 -. walk]

Monday 14/9: walk up and around local fells just outside Kendal, followed by lazy morning. underestimated the time to the bus took to get down to Lancaster so only just made my appointment at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

Great to catch up with so many ex-colleagues in their nice new staff room.

Positive talk with Alumni team – which lead to the idea that all UK State Schools should be offered the UWCGO Connect App for free.

Then on to Oxford to meetup with Jonathan Thorne – old sixth form school buddy – we hadn’t seen each other for 39 years! Nice meal at ye old english country pub.

Bed: Jonathan’s off Abingdon Rd. Oxford

[walk -.> bus -> walk || walk -> train x 3 -> car]

Tuesday 15/9: Manic Tuesday – the only word for it. 4 visits in one day!

9am @ Worcester College – to meet another school pal – we were at primary school together, Jonathan Forrest – he is now the Bursar. Nice tour of the grounds, coffee in the fellows lounge, followed by a further pitch of the App to their development director

11am @ Magdalen College School – my own school. Much changed with lots of new buildings in the last 40 years. Given a tour around by Ruth – herself an AC ’74 grad.

12:30 @ Rhodes House – impressive building. Cecil Rhodes left his money for post-graduate scholarships from CommonWealth countries, and Germany to study at Oxford University. (Germany -‘cos he was friendly with the Kaiser). 6,400 Rhodes Scholars alive today. Fundraising to be able to award more – costs a £4 million to endow a single scholarship. They have recently built their own alumni platform using (i think) Higher Logic.

2:30pm @Headington School – where my mum, Lily, taught maths for 15 years. Matthew gave freely of his time and i think i learnt more from him about alumni platforms than he learnt about UWCGO – but he did agree to test out the idea of the app on his recent gradudates next time he was in contact with them. Meeting concluded with a humorous exchange:

“if you don’t mind me asking, why is your mother a Lady”

“because my father is a Sir”

“why is your father a Sir”

“shouldn’t you know the answer to that one – he is a patron of your school!”

4:30 Oxford Bus Station – just in time to catch the bus to cambridge – except it is full and i have to wait for the 5:30

Bed @ Iain’s luxurious penthouse

[car -> walk x 5 -> bus -> car]

Wednesday 16/9 Cold calls to Cambridge Union and Cambridge University Alumni Office didn’t prove fruitful except i acquired my CamCard – almost certainly one made by my cousin Andrew’s company.

Mike’s plane from Amsterdam delayed – so only Iain to join me in our meeting with Alumni Director, John, @ Churchill College. V friendly meeting – exchange of ideas, followed by v nice lunch in the Fellows’ dining room. Sat next to a couple of maths dons – one of whom claimed to recognise me by my voice.

Lift with Mike in hired car to LSE in London for UWC Forum. Interesting, but didn’t have enough time to mingle after the lecture. Nice to meet in person with Hanna who is developing Online UWC, and also Josie Hamper who is 13 years older than she was when i last saw her 13 years ago.

[walk -> car -> taxi -> bus]

No bed – overnight bus to edinburgh

Thursday 17/9 Flight from Edinburgh to Basel. Trains and bus to Villars – home of Aiglon College – where i taught and played with computers ’95 – ’98. This was my first visit back since.

Lovely pizza out with Lynn, Richard, Hilary, Berie, and Duncan – who was a little the worse after re-hydrating after his squash game. Nuff said. Amazing how quickly you can pick up friendships after such a long break.

Bed @ Hilary’s beautiful swiss chalet

Friday 18/9 Quick tour of Lynn’s lovely old chalet – 3 floors, one for each generation. Breakfast in school – with Nick – another ex-colleague. Brief discussion about raising a team for next May’s 3 Islands Peaks Race.

And so to morning meditation – right up there with the most powerful piece of theatre i have seen at any school around the world to start the school day.

Richard – Head – wasn’t on campus, but i spent a very fruit few hours talking with Math and IT staff – boy, how the IT game has changed since we put in that first network.

And i was most taken with the Math teacher who had ditched the Smart Board but was using a tablet linked to the projector – neat!

Good meeting with Seth about alumni and the UWCGO app.

Bus, trains to stay with Kris near Freiberg – didn’t help that i failed to get off at the train in Zurich. But european trains are so comfortable the extra time hardly mattered.

[car -> walk -> bus -> trains x 3 -> walk]

Bed @ Kris

Saturday 18/9 Lazy day being a tourist in Freiberg. Very pleasant bike ride into town – segragated bike lanes. Bought myself a Raspberry Pi.

Evening meal with some of Kris’s colleagues, including UWCRBC Head Laurene and his wife Debbie. Very pleasant social occasion – even if the sweet course was way to large!

[bike -> walk -> bike || bike x 2]

Bed @ Kris

Sunday 19/9 Brief walk around the village – all quiet on a sunday morning.

Afternoon bike ride to have a look around the college itself. Nice mixture of the old and the new – though the residences were a little cube like!

Lovely old orchard.

Evening conclude with a trip to local beer garden where our request for white beer and white coffee completely bamboozled the barmaid.

Bed @ Kris

Monday 20/9 Bike ride with a suitcase strapped on top of the rack behind the bike seat – a tad unstable.

Useful, but too short, two hours meeting with UWCRBC staff – particular pleased to meet Julien – the IT dept – UWCRBC are running the RCN W4 database system

School van to train station, train to Basel, buses to Basel airport and flight home to Edinburgh.

Home in time to meet up with UWC graduates attending Edinburgh University – climb Arthur’s Seat and then share a nice meal at the Mosque Kitchen. 25 of us in all.

woow – someone actually read this blog to the end!

enjoyable, memorable, tiring, inspiring

#refugee crisis

{published by Franny Armstrong – of Age of Stupid}
If you’d like to help the refugee crisis, you can:
1. Donate money
Either to big established NGOs like Medicins Sans Frontieres (who rescued 1,658 people in the Mediterranean on one day last week), Save the Children, UNHCR and the Red Cross, or to smaller groups like Migrant Offshore Aid Station (who run independent rescue boats) or the newly established Aylan Kurdi fund which raises money for child victims of war is Syria. If you prefer to support more grassroots efforts, this Just Giving page brings together loads of local initiatives looking for funds.
2. Donate clothes/tents/sleeping bags/food etc
There are groups all over the UK collecting donations to be taken to Calais. The situation on the ground is changing fast, and many groups are now getting overwhelmed, so best to double check what’s needed before turning up. 
– Here’s a map to find your local drop-off point:
– Here’s a list of what’s required:
– Here’s instructions if you’d like to go to Calais yourself:
– Here’s where to add your group if you can set-up a local drop-off:


3. Sign up to house a refugee family in your home

– Register to house a new refugee: Positive Action in Housing:
– Register to house asylum seekers who have had their application rejected and are homeless in the UK:
– Join Refugees Welcome which started in Germany, where 10,000+ homes have been offered, and is spreading fast to other countries, including the UK, where the website was launched a few days ok:
-> International –
Here’s a moving story of a family who took in a refugee in WWII. And a very inspiring article about people in the UK who’ve already taken in asylum seekers.
4. Take to the streets
London, 12th September: details here
Exeter, 12th September: I’m helping organise the Exeter event this Saturday, where we’re expecting a few hundred people to come and show their solidarity. Please could you forward this flyer to everyone you know in Devon or Cornwall?
5. Volunteer
The US refugee charity the International Rescue Committee has opportunities to volunteer at all of its 22 offices. Roles include mentoring refugee families and helping refugees find jobs.
6. Get Political
Write to your MP or local politicianffs, don’t vote Tory ever again, and/or take action.

7. Sign the petitions 
“Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK” – 432,707 supporters – click here
“Britain must accept its fair share of refugees seeking safety in Europe” – 377,348 supporters – click here
8. Tell everyone
If you’ve not yet joined Facebook and Twitter, now might be the time…

3 months on

On June 2nd, 2015 i was discharged from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, after three periods as an in-patient after my first being admitted on March 26 via Facebook (thanks again folks)

I came out with a single entry in my diary – indeed i didn’t even own a diary. A big shout to Stephen, manager of Oxfam’s bookshop in Morningside, Edinburgh who welcomed me back onto his team of volunteers with out as much as “where the hell have you been”, and within days i was back behind the till serving (and talking to!) the public.

On that first session i splashed out and bought myself a new A5 oxfam diary.

Had i only known.

Within two weeks the diary was ditched in favour of a Google Calendar. I started with a public one and a private one – but again within a further week the private one got the boot. Want to know what i am doing, where i am – look no further

Thanks to Rodney @ Mostar if have gone paperless #yesyoucan.

And the list of projects i am involved in keeps growing. Paul of Bridge of Cally had a nice phrase – “stop starting projects, start finishing them”

Here’s a my list – intentionally written in abbrev. codes to avoid any embarassment if the role isn’t public / confirmed (yet)

Mental Health: Vox, BpScot, BEAL
Environment: FoEE, BkStn
Kirkmichael, Perthshire: Glen, MBCDT, StrathGames, KVH, KVS, No8RH, HaTWood
UWC: UWCGO, UWC Online, UWC Scotland

just need to make sure i find enough time to cycle/run/play squash to train the physical body to cope with the mental demands, and help my sleep pattern!


COP21 in Paris takes place Nov 30 – Dec 11.

A group of cyclists, myself included, are planning to leave Edinburgh on Sat Nov 28th and cycle the approx 770 miles over 13 days to arrive in Paris on Thu Dec 10

The aim is to join up with the larger group leaving from London on Sun Dec 6. Cycle to COP21 Facebook Event

Route yet to be decided – either:
Edinburgh – Lancaster – Oxford – London – Brighton – Paris
Edinburgh – York – Cambridge – London – Brighton – Paris

please get in touch ( if you are interested in helping with the organising, or indeed just wish to join the ride.


W3 -> W4 & beyond flekke

During the summer of 2001 i finally worked out how to web enable a database, and wrote a school admin system for the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway.

It slowly grew and grew – {indeed by the time i left in June 2002 it wasn’t that far from an early prototype of Facebook which it pre-dated}.

My successors kept it running – with most of the credit going to Chris Hamper.

Eventually, a few years ago, Chris got funding from the college to both considerably extend the scope of the database and at the same time get it professionally coded. Credit is due to Mirek Skoczek for his technical programming and database skills

My early version lived at – and is still alive because some of content was never carried forward into the new system.

Naturally, the new version is known as w4 – but of course is now password protected with different levels of user access – something beyond my own paygrade.

I take great satisfaction in knowing that as of this month, (Aug ’15) w4 is now being used in:

Maybe if these installations go well there is every chance other UWCs will adopt it. I take no credit for w4 – that all goes to Chris with his vision and drive and dogged determination for seeing the project through to completion, and the Mirek beavering away behind the scene. But i did at least plant the seed all those years ago – it has now grown, or should that be perhaps be evolved, from a single small sapling struggling to stay alive, into a small forest of oak trees.



the avi club

When i was masquerading as a computer geek at UWC-USA (Aug ’02 – Jun ’03) i used to have breakfast every morning with Ravi Parashar in the huge dining room, complete with its hugh Chihuly glass sculpture.

Some people can only be described by their names, – no other adjective will do. Ravi falls into that category – and anyone who has mraviet him will, i am sure, agree.

Ravi appears in a youtube video to encourage uwc-usa alumni to download the college’s alumni app – the irony will not be lost on the alumni that to the best of my knowledge Ravi doesn’t own or use a smart phone himself

After a few months i realised Ravi and David shared 3 letters in common – hence we became the avi club.

Fast forward 11 years – and i returned to Montezuma to teach Math(s) from Jan ’14 until May ’14. Naturally, ravi was still a regular attendee at breakfast and the avi club reconvened. Only one other teacher regularly made 7am kickoff – a suitably named Travis Day. #youcouldn’tmakeitup.

I am glad that as i write, the avi club continues to function with an elite memership of 2 – and with Fenicia, the college nurse, as an honorary member

Mugs – where are you?

13 years ago – when i was teaching at the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway, there was a small group of staff and students who used to meet each morning for breakfast @ 7am.

The cups used in the Kantine were rather small – so in a rash moment I purchased a set of 6 – one for each member of the breakfast club.

Mariano still has his mug – mine has long been lost – indeed until Mariano mentioned the mugs i had forgotten all about them.

So the question is can we track down the other 5 mugs?


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