‘Britain's brainiest family’ includes two teachers

Two teachers from East Ayrshire and their children won thousands of fans with their exploits on TV gameshow

Henry Hepburn

‘Britain's brainiest family’ includes two teachers

Two Scottish teachers and their children have been described as “Britain’s brainiest family” after winning Family Brain Games, a BBC television quiz hosted by Dara Ó’Briain.

Chris Smith is a maths teacher at Grange Academy in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, and Elaine Smith is a teacher at the same school’s hearing-impairment unit. Mr Smith was Scotland’s 2018 Teacher of the Year and has written for Tes Scotland.


Their eldest daughter, Daisy, is a pupil at Loudoun Academy, also in East Ayrshire, and has won two gold medals at the Scottish Maths Challenge Awards, while the youngest competitor in the show, Heidi, is a pupil at Darvel Primary School and the youngest person to win gold in the Scottish Maths Challenge Awards.

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Their exceptional maths and problem-solving skills were put to the test and they won many fans, with #TeamSmith trending on Twitter during their semi-final. Dr Hannah Critchlow, the show’s neuroscientist, said that it brought tears to her eyes to see how well the Smiths worked together to solve problems.

Mr Smith said: “We are still buzzing about winning the first ever Family Brain Games. It’s been a joy to see Daisy and Heidi shining on the telly – they’re fantastic young women who were only mildly embarrassed by their dad’s geeky maths trousers.

“We’re grateful for all the support of #TeamSmith, including from our biggest fan, [son] Logan! It’s weird that folk have started to recognise us when we’re out and about, Heidi’s even been asked for her autograph! We feel really blessed – the show was brilliant and we’ve got loads of lovely memories crammed into our ‘award-winning brains’.”


East Ayrshire Council celebrated the Smiths' success by describing them as “Britain's brainiest family”. Fiona Campbell, East Ayrshire cabinet member for skills and learning, said that the Smiths’ “problem-solving, communication and maths skills are incredible but it was their wonderful, positive attitude that shone through and made us all so proud”.

She added: “The support they have received from across the world has been wonderful to see. There is even a video on Twitter of former pupils celebrating the Smiths’ win from their holiday in Magaluf.

“We are so lucky to have teachers of Chris and Elaine’s calibre working for East Ayrshire Council. They demonstrated to the world the skills that make them wonderful teachers and why they are so loved by their pupils.”

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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