Rochdale Mathematicians study the importance of statistics with Dr Jeff Ralph

Leading Senior Methodologist, from the Office for National Statistics, Dr Jeff Ralph was at Cardinal Newman College this week, delivering an inspirational lecture about the importance of statistics in our daily lives to students from Rochdale Sixth Form College.

Thirty of the College’s Mathematics A-Level students were fortunate to meet Dr Jeff Ralph, who is the RSS William Guy Lecturer for 2017-2018 and discuss their current studies of statistics.  The lecture was called, “Society and teenagers with a focus on how statistics reveal the changes in young people’s lives through the last century.

Dr Jeff told the students that young people born in the year 2000 in the UK are more likely to be called Megan or Jack than Mary or John, had a life expectancy at birth of over 75 years and about half will go on to higher education.

He also explained that official statistics tell the story of how our lives have developed over a century of dramatic change and importantly how statisticians have played a key role in tracking and understanding these developments.

Nicola Smith, Rochdale Sixth Form’s Subject Leader for A-Level Mathematics said: “The students were all full of praise for Dr Jeff Ralph and it really did bring it home to them just how important their studies are.  We’d like to thank Dr Jeff for taking the time out to speak to our students, and for bringing all our studies to life.  Statistics is a very important part of the A-Level Maths syllabus and makes up half of the applied content so it was a fantastic opportunity for our students to attend this lecture.”

The students considered a variety of contexts in which statistics are used in our everyday lives, such as how a basket of goods is used to represent the way people spend their money and what the items in the basket tell us about changes in society and technology. The talk also discussed the measurement of poverty and its development over time into more than just an indicator of having enough food to eat

Nadia Mohammad Pani, A-Level Student at Rochdale Sixth Form College said: “It was such a fascinating lecture and it really has demonstrated just how I can apply my studies into every day life. There was some great careers advice with practical interview techniques and preparation, which I can use in further study and employment.”