A new world-class maths school is set to open in Preston next year.
The school, the first of it’s kind in the region, will admit its first students next year, and will be only the third such centre of excellence in the country.
The Governments has approved a joint initiative by Preston’s Cardinal Newman College and Lancaster University in a bid to raise the number of people studying maths A-Level.
Selecting from the most able 16 to 19-year-old students from across Lancashire, the Lancaster University School of Maths, in association with Cardinal Newman College, will act as a regional centre of excellence for delivering mathematics teaching at A-Level.
Although a site hasn’t been identified yet, the school will be close to Cardinal Newman’s Lark Hill campus.
It is being created in response to the government call for the UK’s top universities to take a leading role in establishing new maths schools - helping meet the demand for maths skills in the workforce.
There is currently only two, in Exeter and Kings College, London.
Pupils will come from all backgrounds who will benefit from an “intellectually stimulating and challenging programme” developed in partnership with academics from Lancaster University, a UK top 10 ranked institution that has one of the most highly rated Departments of Mathematics and Statistics in the country and which has a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.
Cardinal Newman is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and ranked fourth nationally for ‘A-Level progress’ by government league tables.
The school will have 100 pupils to start with and work up to 250 within five years and cater mainly for maths and further maths A-Levels but also provide A-Levels in other highly numerate subjects such as physics and computing.
Students will also benefit from the wide range of other courses provided at Cardinal Newman College, ensuring a diverse range of interests.
Organisers the school will provide “high-quality resources, exceptional teaching, and stretching content”, ensuring an environment where “talented and passionate young mathematicians can thrive and excel.”
The aim is equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to bridge the gap towards doing higher-education degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
The school will also work with the Central Lancashire Maths Hub and secondary schools across the region to go into schools and share expertise.
Nick Burnham, principal at Cardinal Newman College said: “We always want to be able to give students of Lancashire the best possible education and experiences and feel that the Lancaster University School of Maths will provide a fantastic opportunity for mathematicians to thrive.”
Professor Sharon Huttly, pro vice-chancellor for education at Lancaster University added: “By providing challenging and intellectually rigorous programmes created in partnership with world-class academics at Lancaster University, and through the additional outreach work the school will undertake in partnership with secondary schools across the region, the maths school will provide a significant boost to the teaching of maths in the North West and help deliver the skills needed for the UK to remain competitive in a global economy.”
Dr Alexander Belton, head of the university’s department of mathematics and statistics, which was recently ranked within the top 10 nationally by the Complete University Guide, said: “Our staff and students will work with School of Maths students to support their learning, enhance the curriculum and help bridge the gap between school and undergraduate-level study, whether at Lancaster or another top UK university.
“The Lancaster University School of Maths will provide a great opportunity for talented young mathematicians from all backgrounds.”
Schools Minister Lord Agnew said: “Maths schools support talented young people to reach their potential by tapping into the expertise of top universities – and Ofsted has found that they excel in recruiting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their potential.
“I’m confident that this exciting partnership between Lancaster University and Cardinal Newman College will build on those successes and boost the prospects of talented mathematicians in the region.”
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