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Features: Faculty Insights


The new Cambridge Maths School welcomed its first-ever students as it opened at the start of the new academic year in September 2023. The School joins a nationwide network of maths schools, one for every region of England, announced by the government as part of its Industrial Strategy.

Teenagers from across the Eastern region have begun their A-level studies at the specialist sixth form in Cambridge's Mill Road, which has been created by multi-academy trust the Eastern Learning Alliance, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. It will focus on pioneering learning and increasing diversity in the field of maths.

Supporting a passion for mathematics

"This collaboration ... builds on our work with schools around the country, to support teachers and pupils through outreach and learning, and create further bridges between academia and the wider community." Professor Bhaskar Vira

The state-funded Maths School offers 16-19-year-olds with an exceptional aptitude and passion for maths-related subjects a unique environment in which to learn, and an innovative curriculum that will include talks from University of Cambridge academics.

"We are delighted to be opening the doors of Cambridge Maths School to our inaugural student cohort," said Clare Hargraves, Head of School at Cambridge Maths School. "Providing the opportunity for young people with a true passion for mathematics to work collaboratively every day in pursuit of excellence has always been our mission, and it’s been great to see our students immerse themselves in our challenging curriculum from day one."

The first cohort of students at the School share their teachers' enthusiasm. A-level student Hawin said: "The Maths School has been a great opportunity to access super-curricular activities that I would not otherwise have been able to experience, and to nurture my passion for STEM subjects alongside others." Fellow student Mahir added: "Maths schools are amazing places to make friends and be surrounded by like-minded people."

All students will study maths and further maths, and then choose from physics, chemistry, biology or computer science A-Levels. The principal aim of maths schools is to help prepare more of the UK's most mathematically able students to succeed in maths and related scientific disciplines at top universities, regardless of background, and address the UK’s skills shortage in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Professor Colm-cille Caulfield, Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge (DAMTP), said: "Education is transformative, and this School can do enormous good – particularly in encouraging more students from underrepresented groups, including girls, to study maths post-16. One of our key focuses will be helping students to develop the essential skills needed to make the step from school to university, and truly think like a mathematician."

Transforming lives through education

The Cambridge Maths School has been developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge, with University staff supporting the School in creating its curriculum. The national maths school network is expected to contribute more widely to supporting the teaching and learning of mathematics in their local areas too, and the Mathematics Faculty is therefore sharing experience from its extensive outreach and widening participation work supporting schools, students and teachers throughout the UK. Cambridge mathematicians are also among the School's governors, providing leadership input.

"It's hugely exciting to see Cambridge Maths School open in Mill Road, and it was great to have a chance to meet some of its very first cohort," commented Professor Julia Gog OBE, Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project and Professor of Mathematical Biology in DAMTP, who will be one of the School's governors. "It's clear there is already a real buzz here, with great excitement from staff and students alike. We’re looking forward to working with them all!"

"Our expert staff are just as excited to start our journey together, and we are so pleased to continue working alongside the University of Cambridge as we embark on the academic year ahead," said Clare Hargraves. "It is a true privilege to be the headteacher of this remarkable school, and we look forward to a really successful first year together."

"The University was delighted to support the creation of the Cambridge Maths School, and its opening is a truly exciting moment," said Professor Bhaskar Vira, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Cambridge . "This collaboration with the Eastern Learning Alliance builds on our work with schools around the country, to support teachers and pupils through outreach and learning, and create further bridges between academia and the wider community - local, regional and national."


This article is adapted from a news story on the University of Cambridge website.