The state-funded Exeter Mathematics School was launched in 2014 and is jointly sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter College

Call to increase number of specialist Maths Schools following Exeter's success

The success of the Exeter Mathematics School in helping pupils from all backgrounds to attend top universities has been highlighted in a new, high level report.

The paper, published today (January 10th 2019) by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), looks at the impact of selective schools in ensuring progress to higher education.

The report highlights the significant role that the two existing specialist Maths schools – including Exeter – plays in supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to secure places at the very best universities in the country.

As a result, the report recommends increasing the number of specialist Mathematics schools across the country to 10 by 2022.

The state-funded Exeter Mathematics School, the current, The Sunday Times Sixth Form College of the Year, was launched in 2014 and is jointly sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter College.

It offers young mathematicians and scientists in the South West who show potential the chance to study in an exciting and challenging environment.

Professor Janice Kay, Provost of the University of Exeter said: "We are extremely proud to be a co-founder and partner of Exeter Mathematics School alongside Exeter College. The School is delivering tremendous benefits to talented mathematicians in the South West.

“It is excellent to see this recognised in this report and the recommendation to increase the number of specialist Maths schools to multiply the benefits they bring. We have been working with King’s College London Maths School (KCLMS) and the Department of Education to provide guidance on the development of Maths schools to support the expansion of these important institutions for the next generation of maths excellence."

The report, The Impact of Selective Secondary Education on Progression to Higher Education, HEPI Occasional Paper 19, by Iain Mansfield looks at the impact of selective schools in ensuring progress to higher education.

As part of the analysis, the report highlights the success of specialist maths schools which have an annual intake of less than 70 pupils, but with a third coming from the two most socially disadvantaged quintiles. The University of Exeter has a wide range of initiatives to support widening participation and has established a new Centre for Social Mobility.  

Both specialist maths schools are rated Outstanding with a high value-added score and, the report says, are “supporting rates of access to study STEM subjects at highly-selective universities, including Oxbridge, that are considerably above those achieved by the broader state or even independent sector”.

The paper ends with seven recommendations for universities, regulators and policymakers for further enhancing social mobility, including increasing the number of specialist Mathematics schools from two to 10 by in the next three years.

Date: 10 January 2019

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