Peter Holmes, 1937–2024

Fellows will be sad to learn that Peter Holmes passed away on 2 April 2024, at the age of 86.  Peter’s work helped to shape the teaching of statistics in English schools in recent decades, and he made major contributions to statistical education at all levels and in many countries around the world.
Peter was born on 5 April 1937 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. He went to Fakenham Grammar School in Norfolk and then, on a state scholarship, to Manchester University in 1955, graduating with a BSc in Mathematics in 1958. He continued at Manchester for a further year to study for a PGCE. He went on to complete an MSc in Statistics in 1974.
Peter’s career was devoted to the teaching of statistics, and his roles included Director of the Schools Council Project on Statistical Education (1975–81); Director of the Centre for Statistical Education at the University of Sheffield (1984–87) and acting as co-Director of the RSS Centre for Statistical Education at the University of Nottingham (1998–99), as well as directing several other projects, chairing various education and examination committees and consulting.
He was a founding trustee of the Teaching Statistics Trust and the first editor of the journal Teaching Statistics from its launch in 1978 until 1987. In 1982, he was on the organising committee for the first International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICoTS) and in 2002 was one of the plenary lecturers. He also wrote, edited or contributed to numerous articles, papers, books and teaching resources on statistical education.
Peter was a dedicated volunteer with both the Society and the Institute of Statisticians (IoS). He was chairman of the IoS Education Committee from 1983 to 1986. He was a member of the Society’s Council from 2002 to 2006 and served on various education committees from 1976 to 1995. In 2003, he was the RSS Schools (Guy) lecturer, and that year read his paper “50 years of statistics teaching in English schools: some milestones”. He was awarded the Chambers Medal in recognition of his outstanding service to the RSS in 2008.
Our sincere condolences go out to Peter’s family and friends at this time. A full obituary will be published in a forthcoming edition of our Series A journal.
Peter’s colleagues are invited to submit their memories of him to Professor Neville Davies for compilation into a book of remembrance to be passed on to his family.
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