We're passionate about making a difference
As a lecturer in mathematics, Dr Mark Dixon had always been aware of the social and commercial impact of low levels of maths attainment, both nationally and around the world.
This came into sharp focus through his experience as a parent – providing him with a clear understanding about the level of challenge faced by many students in acquiring even the most basic maths skills and by parents looking to help their children.
In 2010, Mark started investigating ways to tackle some of these issues, creating in the first instance a simple series of tutorial videos to be shared amongst friends.
The spark of an idea.
Sparx would not have been able to succeed without the expertise, passion and creativity of our dedicated team. From mathematicians to engineers and graphic designers to data scientists, our diverse range of team members are the foundation which Sparx is built upon.
Our Leadership Team
Dr Mark Dixon
Our Leadership Team
Dr Mark Dixon
Dr Mark Dixon
Founder and Sparx Discovery
Dr Mark Dixon is a recognised leader in innovation in academia and statistical modelling. Having set up Oxygen House in 2008, Mark proactively supports technology-driven businesses within the education, social and environment sectors. Mark founded Sparx to make a difference in the learning experience for students and continues to lead the innovation of new products.
CEO – Sparx
CEO of Sparx, Dan has an extensive career in the education and technology sectors, both in the UK and internationally. Leading and guiding education teams around the world, Dan has previously been voted as one of Education Technology’s top 100 most influential leaders globally.
As a member of BESA’s Executive Council (UK Education Industry Body) and having joined the Brooking Institution’s Center for Universal Education’s Leadership Council in the US, Dan is influencing the education and EdTech landscapes beyond his role at Sparx. He is a regular speaker at education and technology forums and has authored numerous articles.
Dan’s breadth of experience in education is demonstrated through his role as an investor in a number of education ventures such as Youth4work (a global vocational assessment platform), Edurio, Ecovation as well as his work with Emerge Education and Teachers’ Media International. Dan was also Chairman and CEO of Digital Assess and sat on their advisory board, supporting the international partnership strategy.
Dan is focused on ensuring that Sparx will achieve sustainable impact in the delivery of maths education in the UK and internationally, focusing on the use of education technology to improve numeracy and therefore life opportunities for millions of learners around the world.
Simon Lebus has had a diverse career that has included investment banking, food manufacturing and education. Simon originally studied history at Oxford University, staying on for three years as a research student after finishing his undergraduate degree before going to work in the City, where he specialised first in capital markets and then corporate finance.
Following this he joined his family’s food manufacturing business, where he worked for fourteen years. This was eventually sold to a large US food company at which stage he decided it was time for a change of direction and was recruited by Cambridge University as Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment, the business responsible for running its exam boards. These included OCR in the UK, and internationally Cambridge International Examinations and Cambridge English Language Assessment. The Group trebled in size during Simon’s fifteen year tenure, and the Group’s exams were taken each year by approximately 8 million candidates in 170 different countries. The Group also had a substantial research operation which carried out innovative research on assessment and curriculum and worked with governments and education systems around the world to support curriculum reform programmes.
Simon left Cambridge Assessment in April 2018 to develop a portfolio of non-executive and advisory roles, specialising mainly in the education and edtech sectors. Simon, who continues to live in Cambridge, is married with three adult children and expects shortly to become a Grandfather.
Education and UK Schools Director
Director of Technology
Director of Oxygen House
Glenn Woodcock has over 25 years of experience as a banker, venture capitalist, and entrepreneur. Since 2008 he has been a Director of Oxygen House which invests in projects that foster social, environmental and economic prosperity.
Over the last five years, Glenn’s role has sat at the overlap between the public sector and the private. He is a founder and a non-executive director at Sparx. He is also founder of Exeter City Futures, Co-Founder and Chairman of City Science and a Director of Low Carbon Group. In addition, Glenn is a Governor of Exeter College, a Fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Science and Policy and a University of Exeter Council member.
Director of the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College
Dr Julian Huppert is the Director of the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College, Cambridge, a new centre aimed at fostering discussion on crucial interdisciplinary issues. He was the Member of Parliament for Cambridge 2010-5, and was particularly noted for his work on data privacy, being named the 2013 ISPA Internet Hero of the Year for combating intrusive state surveillance.
He is a Director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Vice-Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, and one of the Independent Reviewers of DeepMind Health, having served as the initial Chair. He has very wide-ranging interests including technology, ethics, the use of evidence in policy making, civil liberties, the environment and more.
Impact Investment Director at Ufi Charitable Trust
Joe is the Impact Investment Director at Ufi Charitable Trust where he leads Ufi Ventures investing in early stage companies which develop digital technologies to give people and businesses the skills needed for work, now and in the future. Previously Managing Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures, Joe invested in and advised ventures using technology for social and environmental impact.
He has 15 years of experience in impact investing and entrepreneurship, previously managing investment funds at Nesta and CAF Venturesome. He began his career with TeachFirst, teaching in a London secondary school.
Dr Rebecca Winthrop
Senior fellow and co-director of the Center for Universal Education
Rebecca Winthrop is a senior fellow and co-director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. Her research focuses on education globally, with special attention to the skills young people need to thrive in work, life, and as constructive citizens.
Dr. Winthrop works to promote quality and relevant education, including exploring how education innovations can leapfrog progress, particularly for the most marginalized children and youth. She advises governments, international institutions, foundations, civil society organizations, and corporations on education issues. She currently serves as a board member and advisor for a number of global education organizations and lectures at Georgetown University.
Winthrop has authored numerous articles, reports, books, and book chapters, including most recently Leapfrogging Inequality: Remaking Education to Help Young People Thrive with Adam Barton and Eileen McGivney. Other recent publications include: Millions Learning: Scaling Up Quality Education in Developing Countries with Jenny Perlman Robinson; What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment with Gene B. Sperling; and Why Wait 100 Years? Bridging the gap in global education with Eileen McGivney. Her work has been featured in the BBC, Newsweek, Time Ideas, NPR, Economist, and The Financial Times, among others.
She was educated at Columbia University, Teachers College (Ph.D., 2008), Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (MA, 2001), and Swarthmore College, (BA, 1996).
Dr Georgie Hart
Head of Community Education at the British Red Cross
Georgie is currently the Head of Community Education at the British Red Cross. As one of the founding team members at Sparx, Georgie was involved in building the proposition from inception. Georgie has a PhD in Operational Research, and extensive experience in both commercial and academic fields. Georgie ensures that Sparx’s products are impactful, support educators and improve outcomes for students.