Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom







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This guide, which replaces the JMC Handbook, has been written primarily for the benefit of new representatives but may be of interest to others.


The Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom (JMC, was formed in 1963 to: 'provide co-ordination between the Constituent Societies and generally to promote the advancement of mathematics and the improvement of the teaching of mathematics'. In pursuance of this, JMC serves as a forum for discussion between societies and for making representations to government and other bodies and responses to their enquiries. It is concerned with all aspects of mathematics at all levels from primary to higher education. JMC consists of its Officers, Participating Societies, Co-opted Members and Observing Societies. A list of members can be found on the Council page.

JMC sets up working parties and groups to examine topics further as required. JMC also holds a conference, the British Congress of Mathematics Education (BCME,, jointly with its Participating Societies every four years. BCME9 will be held in 2018. More details of these initiatives can be found on the Initiatives page.

Meetings of JMC

JMC meets three times a year, at present at the Royal Statistical Society, in November, February and June. The JMC AGM precedes the November meeting. Council meetings start at 11:00, break for lunch at 13:00 until about 13:45 and close at about 15:15. Update papers are submitted in advance of the meeting and are made available from the JMC Document Library for delegates to download and prepare for meetings. These papers and minutes approved at the meetings should normally be regarded as public documents and it is the responsibility of representatives to disseminate these widely within organisations. Before lunch, following minutes of the last meeting and matters arising and reports from the Executive Committee, organisations highlight key points from their updates and ask and receive questions. We have the option of having a short (15 minute) discussion on a topic in the two hour morning session with a longer time for discussion on a further topic or two in the one and a half hour afternoon session. Lunchtime has been regarded as a key part of the meeting with its ability to network. Meetings are attended by over 30 representatives and officers seated in boardroom style.

The Council members are summarised below:

member voting normal maximum term of office
Chair yes 3 years (starting in year = 0 modulo 3)
Honorary Secretary yes 3 years (starting in year = 1 modulo 3)
Honorary Treasurer yes 3 years (starting in year = 2 modulo 3)
Participating Society yes
Co-opted Member no 4 years
Observing Society no

JMC Communication with Participating Societies and Observing Societies

The focal points for communication with JMC Participating Societies and Observing Societies are the three Council meetings each year when organisations prepare update papers and give and respond to verbal updates. Throughout the year various organisations email messages to be forwarded to JMC organisations. These are filtered by the Honorary Secretary. In addition when JMC is invited to respond to consultations it will enter into discussion with some or all of JMC organisations. It is the responsibility of the JMC representative to ensure wide dissemination and communication with others in their organisation.

JMC Website

The JMC website ( is hosted by a commercial provider and is maintained by the Honorary Secretary. In addition we have a password protected area of the Open University website ( for storing archived documents; members can obtain usernames and passwords for this area from the Honorary Secretary who curates the JMC Document Library.

JMC Executive Committee

The three elected Honorary Officers (Chair, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer) serve on the Executive Committee together with two additionally elected members and up to two additionally co-opted members. Executive Committee members represent the whole of the JMC at Executive Committee meetings while at Council meetings elected and co-opted members of Executive represent their individual Participating Societies. The selection of members of Executive Committee from a range of Participating Societies ensures that together the Executive has a wide expertise and balanced representation. Outside the Executive Committee meetings decisions and review, e.g. of the work of ACME, is through confidential emails to the Executive Committee. Where available, a member of the Executive Committee may be invited to represent the JMC at meetings. In some cases, e.g. as a member of the ACME selection panel, this will involve maintaining a high level of confidentiality.

The Chair is the Chair of Council; calls meetings of the Council; invites visitors to meetings.

The Honorary Secretary issues notices of and agenda for meetings; keeps minutes of Executive Committee and Council meetings; prepares the Annual Report; receives requests for Council meetings; in addition organises Executive Committee and Council meetings, and maintains the JMC Website and Document Library. He also (in place of the former Executive Secretary) receives nominations for the posts of Honorary Officers and other members of Executive Committee and organises voting; coordinates the strategic relationship between ACME and JMC and strategic responses to policy makers; organises and manages JMC projects and communicates findings; liaises and communicates with JMC Participating Societies, Observing Societies and external organisations, in particular NCETM, Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) and Meeting of Mathematics Subject Associations (MMSA); collates information and writes draft reports and drafts letters for the JMC Executive Committee.

The Honorary Treasurer maintains financial records and presents the annual accounts.

JMC as a UK organisation

The JMC is a UK-wide organisation. Some JMC organisations such as Adults Learning Mathematics are international and others such as the Association of Teachers of Mathematics are UK wide, whilst some such as the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (EMS) and Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) focus on one country.

JMC Working Groups

There are no JMC Working Groups at present.

Working with the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

ACME was established in January 2002, by the Royal Society and the Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom with the explicit backing of all major mathematics organisations and the support of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Department for Education (DfE). Its purpose is to enable an effective and constructive partnership between Government and the mathematics community. ACME aims to inform and advise the DfE in order to assist in its drive to raise standards and promote mathematics at all levels within education. It seeks to complement and enhance, rather than replace, consultative procedures and aims for positive progress. JMC works closely with ACME. The JMC Chair participates in the ACME termly meeting with the DfE. Two members of the Executive Committee sit on the selection panel for new members of ACME. The JMC Chair (who may consult members of Executive Committee) reviews ACME reports, responses and statements intended for publication.

The governance of ACME is under review by The Royal Society, of which it is legally a standing committee, and JMC with a view to agreeing between the two bodies a Memorandum of Understanding for the future of ACME.

Representation on External Bodies

From time to time JMC is asked to provide representatives on external bodies. The JMC Executive Committee decides whether to meet the request. It then seeks to select a suitable representative, consulting others where necessary. It is the practice not to make appointments for longer than three years at a time, although often requests are for a shorter term or even a single meeting. The names of representatives appointed are reported to the next available Council meeting. The process is managed by the Honorary Secretary.

Those representing the JMC are expected to represent views of the whole JMC, and to report back. Reports should be by e-mail, with attachments as necessary (Word is preferred to pdf for ease of incorporation in other documents), to the Honorary Secretary, and all submissions will be acknowledged. Reports are usually included in the papers for the next available Council meeting.

JMC relationship with International Bodies

The UK is a member of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and its Adhering Body is the London Mathematical Society (LMS) with the UK Committee for Mathematics being the LMS International Affairs Committee (IAC).

The IMU has a number of Committees and Commissions. One of these is the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI). Under the auspices of ICMI, though planned and organized by separate committees, which operate independently of the ICMI, The International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) is held every four years. The last ICME, ICME12 was held in 2012 in Seoul, South Korea, and ICME13 will be held in 2016 in Hamburg, Germany.

As UK adhering body, the LMS is responsible for appointing the UK representatives to the IMU (currently Professor John Toland) and ICMI (currently Professor Chris Budd) and for responding on behalf of the UK on issues arising from its adherence to those bodies. In the case of ICMI the IAC initially suggests some names and puts these to the JMC for consideration. The final decision is made by the LMS Council and put forward by the LMS to ICMI.


JMC is funded by subscriptions from Participating Societies and Observing Societies. It also receives a share of any surplus (and contributes to any deficit) arising from the British Congress of Mathematics Education which is held every four years; BCME9 is in 2018. JMC receives and distributes every four years bursaries for International Congress on Mathematical Education; ICME13 is in 2016.

Last updated by Peter Thomas
on 20 January 2017

The information on this page relates to the unincorporated Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom.