School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Steve Humble MBE

Senior Lecturer in International Development


Dr Steve Humble carries out research in sub Saharan Africa and India. He is an expert around analysing data from large samples using advanced statistical techniques using both STATA and SPSS.

One example would be the use of discrete choice models (McFadden, 1974) to directly test large household data sets to see whether the parents’ preferences and demographics affect the choice of attending different school management types (Government, Low-cost Private, Faith Based Mission, Community and NGO schools). His PhD looked at children’s ability, creativity and motivation in poor parts of Kinondoni, Tanzania.

He was awarded an MBE, a grade within the British order of chivalry – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Services to Education in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List.

He supervises students who wish to look at using mixed methods approaches with a focus on quantitative analysis.

Degree Programme Director for MA (International Development and Education) and MA (International Development and Education with Cross Cultural Communication)

Steve is the Co-Champion for the Sustainable Livelihoods Network within the Global Challenges Academy

Awards and Honours

Awarded MBE, a grade within the British order of chivalry - Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Services to Education in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List

Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications (FIMA)

Author of the Month Routledge Education How to be Inventive when Teaching Primary Mathematics, Routledge, April 2015

Guinness World Record “Maths Treasure Hunt” on the Newcastle upon Tyne Quayside -1001 children, July 2014

Awarded the Commission to Design the Logic Walk for the London Underground 150 years celebrations “The Tube Trail”.

Professional Bodies

GCRF Peer Review Assessor ESRC (2019 - )

Member of ALCAB committee (ten members), UK Government Russell University group, reforming A level Mathematics. Designing and informing Ofqual on the new UK A level Mathematics curriculum (2014 - 2015)

Member of the European Mathematical Society (EMS) committee for Raising the Public Awareness of Mathematics in Europe (UK representative 2013 - 2017)

External examiner for University of Plymouth MA Education programme (2019 - 2022 )

External examiner for Teesside University ITE programmes (2014-17)

Member of the IMAs Schools and FE Committee (2006-2014)

Member of the London Mathematics Society Education Committee (2008-2011)

Princes’ Trust Teaching Institute (2011-2014)


Head of Education, Newcastle University (2017-2019)

Acting Head of the School of Education, Communication and Languages Sciences, Newcastle University (2018)

In my role as a maths publicist (Dr Maths) I write puzzle books and a fortnightly newspaper column to help create greater public interest and understanding of mathematics. 

The Today programme on Radio 4 Puzzle for Today. Here is a link to the puzzles that I have created for the programme

I have developed and managed large scale outside maths events (1,000 plus children at each event) such as Maths in the City, Maths in the Malls and Maths on the Beach. The Maths on the Quayside event was held on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th June 2007, with over 2,600 children from 70 schools taking part.

I worked for the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) for five years, developing a strong regional and national infrastructure linking fellow stakeholders in the maths community. This I feel enables teachers to network and progress, as I believe one of the main roles of NCETM is the unification of the maths community.  

With NCETM  and Learning Outside the Classroom I sourced funds, managed and development the site called Learning Maths Outside the Classroom . The aim of the site is to encourage teachers to think about taking children outside the classroom. The case studies span all phases - early years, primary, secondary and post 16. The site contains forty plus case studies and five professional development modules. The cases studies are in the themed areas; School Grounds, Natural Environment, Places of Worship and Charities, Museums and Art Galleries, Farming and Countryside, Built Environment and Heritage, Sports and Adventurous Activities and Family Learning. 

I taught for 21 years in a range of educational establishments: Comprehensive, grammar, private, single sex, 11 to 18, 13 to 18, 4 to 18, sixth form and FE. Exam question writer for OCR.


Current Research

  • Sustainable youth futures interdisciplinary research looking to address employment discrimination for young women based on their gender, caste, geographical location and religious beliefs through the co-development of a life and employment skills course. Delhi, India.
  • Multidisciplinary research around global citizenship and education with families living in informal settlements.
  • Quantifying perceptions of antibiotic resistance and its causes to promote decentralised wastewater treatment in India.
  • Longitudinal study into inclusive WASH for sustainable schools throughout Sierra Leone. 
  • Longitudinal study of phonics intervention in 40 local government areas in Nigeria.
  • Parental preferences and household characteristics affecting school choice in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria
  • Sustainable livelihoods research in informal settlements around household choice and opportunities to access education, health, water and transport. Communities working together to solve complex problems through polycentric systems (Ostrom, 2005).   

Current Grants

  • The British Academy, GCRF Youth Futures. Addressing societal gender, geographical locations, religious and caste discrimination through developing a life and employment skills course and accompanying social marketing campaign. Co-I with PI Dr Andrew Lindridge. £222,538, grant awarded. 2020-2022
  • EPSRC Quantifying perceptions of antibiotic resistance and its causes to promote decentralised wastewater treatment. 2019-2020
  • Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. Inclusive WASH for sustainable schools in Sierra Leone. Longitudinal study. 2019-2021
  • Evaluation of a phonics intervention study in 40 local government areas in Nigeria. 2019-2021
  • UKRI GCRF Water Security Hub  - with a focus on citizen scientist led research and after school clubs (SDGs and Global Citizenship) 2019-2021

Past Research

  • Department for International Development (DFID). Nigeria Schools Project. 2018-2019
  • ESRC - Development Frontiers - The Identification and Nurturing of High Ability Children in low income areas of Dar es salaam, Tanzania 2014-2015, £100,000 grant awarded. 
  • DFID, Appointed Statistician, March 2013-December 2013, £31,774, Main Phase of Logs State Household Poverty and School choice survey, grant awarded.
  • John Templeton Foundation, Appointed Statistician, April 2011-May 2013, Low cost private schools in the world’s most difficult places: the role of for-profit private education in conflict affected states in Africa, £270,000 grant awarded.   

Selected professional activities

Invited to take part in the House of Lords high level panel discussion on Education in Emergencies. Hosted by General Lord Dannatt, opened by Sarah, Duchess of York and chaired by The Rt.Hon, Sir Stephen O'Brien former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, February 2019.

Invited attendee and participant in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Teacher Crisis as a guest of Stephen Twigg, MP, Thatcher Room, Palace of Westminister, London, November 2018.

Keynote speaker and dinner guest University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform, “School choice in fragile states: findings from Sierra Leone and Liberia” April 2017.

Invited attendee and participant Dubai “Global Education and Skills Forum” – The Davos of Education where the worlds Teacher Prize is announced – Bringing together leaders from the public, private and social sectors to find solutions which will achieve education, equity and employment for all, March 2017.

Invited to take part in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Education for All, guest of Mark Williams, MP, Jubilee Room, Palace of Westminster, London, November 2016.

Invited Speaker Scotland National Numeracy conference, Every Child Counts, “Learning mathematics outside the classroom”, October 2016.

TEDx Newcastle “Slum Super Stars” Sunday 5th July 2015.

Invited speaker, San Francisco, California, USA including: Khan Academy, Google, Stanford University and the Hewlett Foundation, ESRC Impact dissemination events “Development Frontiers”, June 2015. 

Keynote Speaker, University of Connecticut, Neag Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development, Center for Education Policy Analysis and Office of the Dean at the Neag School of Education, and the Office of Global Affairs "Slum Super Stars - Alleviating Poverty in Talented Children in Africa" 21st May 2015.

Invited Speaker, Recreational Mathematics Colloquium IV, Lisbon, Portugal “Street Maths: What’s the Chance of That?”, January 2015.

Invited Speaker, EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF14), Street Math European Mathematical Society, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2014.

Invited participant, The Royal Society, Westminster, London, presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. Launch of Institute of Mathematics celebratory book (co-author), 14th May 2014.   

Invited Lecturer on Seminar Series, Edgehill University, Liverpool, Primary Trainee Teachers, February 2014.

After Dinner Speaker, Stockholm Sweden Kunskapsskolan Academy Chain of Schools event, “Africa’s Got Talent”, Including Neo Magazine interview and dissemination, November 2013.  

Prince’s Trust, Teacher CPD trainer events, London “Catch me if you can”; “The Good (odds, evens, squares), The Bad (Pascal) and The Ugly (Random)”, November 2013.

Invited speaker, Seminar Series, The Liverpool Mathematics Society Popular Lecture, “The Randomness Show”, March 2013.

Invited Speaker (joint with Carol Vorderman), Cheltenham Festival, “Magic Numbers”, June 2009.

Invited presenter at yearly events for Irish Maths Week and Irish Engineering Week from 2009 to 2016


Courses Taught at Newcastle University

Undergraduate Teaching

BA (Education):

  • EDU1002 International Development 
  • EDU1006 Education in Developing Countries
  • EDU2008 Globalisation and Development

Postgraduate Teaching

MA (International Development and Education) and MA (International Development and Education with Cross Cultural Communication):

  • EDU8211 Education Policy and Entrepreneurship for Development 
  • EDU8214 International Development: Theory and Practice 
  • EDU8212 Placement Module 
  • EDU8215 Dissertation: International Development and Education

HSS8005 Introduction to Quantitative Methods.

  • Longitudinal analysis option. Exploring structures and relationships of an intervention using repeated Likert scale data.

Postgraduate Research Students

PhD students interested in using quantitative methods with a focus on survey instruments.

PhD completions:

  • Dr. Gopalkrishnan Iyer (2018) - The Impact of the Right to Education Act on schooling in Delhi, India.
  • Dr. Farrah Khan (2018)  - Education vouchers and their affect on schooling in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Dr. Phanlapa Khathayut (2019) - Investigation into the awareness of plagiarism of Thai undergraduates
  • Dr. Fathiya Al Rahbi (2020) - Comparison of school choice and effectiveness in Muscat, the Sultanate of Oman.

Current Students:

  • Jack Charnley - Water and Sanitation in Schools in Delhi, India
  • Chris Middleton - An investigation of field study abroad affects on intercultural competence 
  • Laura Vitty - EdD Estonia PISA data
  • Aram Ihsan Saleh - The Impact of Private Schools on the Educational Process in Kurdistan of Iraq
  • Lydia Lymperis - Investigating SOLE effectiveness in EFL learning in remote areas of Greece