In memory of Dr Peter Matthews

18 September 2020

Dame Sue John shares some reflections on behalf of Challenge Partners, in memory of Dr Peter Matthews, OBE. Former HMI, national and international educational consultant and evaluation expert, Visiting Professor at UCL Institute of Education.


We are so saddened and shocked by the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Peter Matthews who passed away on 1 September, following a short illness. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and numerous colleagues across the educational community.

Peter has challenged and supported us here at Challenge Partners for almost a decade. So many people have relied upon his talents and incisive judgements in developing their ideas about hard edged, collaborative learning across our sector. His razor- sharp intellect and generous nature has meant that he is considered to be a Titan in his field – a wise owl with a warm heart. For those of us who knew him personally we remember his wit, his self-deprecating, wicked sense of humour and his passion for sailing.

He was a ‘tour de force’ in the educational evaluation world and alongside his colleague, Marcia Headon produced a very thorough evaluation of our Quality Assurance Review which he entitled Multiple Gains. More recently, he evaluated our pilot Growing the Top project, which you can access here. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate that he spoke at our last Senior Partners face to face event in Febriary. His presentation was billed as ‘When will they ever learn?’ and focused on his passion for teaching and learning and what makes great pedagogy. He also took the opportunity to remind us of the importance of providing for the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in our community.

Peter will be sadly missed by so many people and the world is already a chillier place without his all-enveloping presence.