Prof Paul Hirst



Dr Elli Glevey

We are very sad to announce the death on August 26 of Dr Elli Glevey, a member of PESGB since the 1990s. While working in London as a school teacher and later college lecturer in mathematics, Elli studied philosophy of education at the Institute of Education, University of London and was awarded a PhD in 2002 for his thesis on ‘The Development of Thinking in Education’ under the supervision of John White. In 2003 the University of London Press published a book based on his thesis and with the same title. Two years later he was appointed as Lecturer in Mathematics Education at the Institute of Education, where he remained until 2011.

Many members who may not have met Elli personally will certainly be aware of an initiative to which Elli made a major contribution, the Books for Africa scheme which Elli later developed into a more ambitious project to build academic links with African scholars. In the early 2000s Elli played a major role in the project of sending books to Accra University Philosophy Department, which he knew was short of resources. Later, helped by a grant from the Development Committee, Elli established the African Philosophy of Education Network (APEN) and encouraged academic philosophers from Ghana and elsewhere to make links with the Society and write papers for presentation at our Annual Conference. This bore fruit at the March 2015 Annual Conference, when a scholar from Ghana successfully responded to the Call for Papers and presented a paper on ‘Social justice and philosophies of mathematics education in Ghana’. The Society’s 2017 Newsletter has an article by Elli himself about APEN and plans for its further development. (

Elli was a modest unassuming man and his patient work behind the scenes to get philosophical texts to African libraries (necessary, even given the Internet, in places where, as he knew, power supplies can often fail) and scholars talking to one another leaves members of the Society hugely in his debt for a major international initiative which would have been impossible without Elli’s commitment and passion for education.

Those of us in PESGB who knew Elli well will remember his warmth, kindness, his generosity, not least with his time – chatting with Elli was to enjoy the feeling that there was no rush and nothing more important that he had to do  –  and his devotion to the improvement of education both in the classroom and also via wider, not least philosophical, perspectives on it.


An Obituary to Elli appears in the Guardian on 7th December 2020: