There is a school for gifted Scientists and Mathematicians in the UK

(27 Posts)
SundayNightRoast Mon 14-Nov-16 06:00:36

... this place.

And it's part of a comprehensive school.

UnmentionedElephantDildo Mon 14-Nov-16 10:12:28

In Cornwall, to save anyone else googling just to see if it's local to them.

Are there really no other places which offer enrichment programmes (in conjunction with university outreach teams)?

Sorry for sounding rather lukewarm, but it does all seem a bit like a (slightly breathless) piece written by a PR person who doesn't really know much about what other schools and universities are doing.

Manumission Mon 14-Nov-16 10:16:40

There are two highly selective Maths Sixth forms (academies) that spring to mind (Exeter and South London).

ShowMeTheElf Mon 14-Nov-16 10:27:57

There's a UTC at Silverstone with an Engineering specialism; whole curriculum very geared to the automotive industry, either business or STEM side..

user7214743615 Mon 14-Nov-16 11:39:31

There are two highly selective Maths Sixth forms (academies) that spring to mind (Exeter and South London).

But they don't actually do particularly more for maths than other selective schools.

SoupDragon Mon 14-Nov-16 11:41:03


PhilODox Mon 14-Nov-16 11:42:19

I don't think my 10yo would be allowed to commute to Cornwall.

Manumission Mon 14-Nov-16 11:45:07

Erm how do you mean user? confused

Manumission Mon 14-Nov-16 11:49:14

I thought the point was to identify places where Maths-focussed education was available?

I'm not sure what 'more for Maths' means, but the two schools I'm referring to ONLY offer Maths/F Maths/Physics/Computing/Economics A-levels.

Saffronesque Mon 14-Nov-16 11:49:39

Is the South London one the kings college academy?

Manumission Mon 14-Nov-16 11:52:21

Yes, I think that's it saffron. I've heard good things.

Only helpful for years 12 & 13, of course.

user7214743615 Mon 14-Nov-16 11:54:55

I assume you are referring to the KCL school? The bulk of their curriculum is simply maths, further maths, physics AS/A2, supplemented with economics and computing AS. This is offered at almost all sixth forms. On top of this, they offer an EPQ, also offered in other sixth forms.

They do teach beyond the curricula, but so do all good sixth forms. They have links with KCL maths but other UK university maths departments also go into sixth forms and teach enhancement/enrichment material. They offer weekly maths challenges, STEP classes etc but again so do many good sixth form colleges.

They are very selective and yet sent "only" 14% of their leavers to Oxbridge, which isn't that terrific given how selective they were on entrance. (Other very selective sixth forms in grammars do at least as well or better.)

Manumission Mon 14-Nov-16 11:59:58

Yikes. You seem a bit inexplicably angry.

Another aggressive poster with no point calling themselves 'user', whodathunkit? hmm

Saffronesque Mon 14-Nov-16 12:05:01

What I have heard is that the KCL one was set up by Kings College as they found students arriving with gaps that were very large. So they are trying to ensure that students who choose to continue onto Kings College are better prepared for undergrad work. Which might mean, though I haven't checked, that a higher proportion continue onto KCL rather than to Oxbridge?
I don't really know, but would love to hear more about it!

user7214743615 Mon 14-Nov-16 12:39:40

I'm not angry - I'm just pointing out that there are lots of good sixth form colleges/sixth forms out there that offer equivalent maths education to the KCL one. For those who don't live near enough to the KCL option, this should be considered a good thing.

hellsbells99 Mon 14-Nov-16 12:49:45

There are also a lot of 6th forms that don't/can't offer more than A level maths - my DD had to self study further maths due to lack of numbers. With the new A levels and more schools only recommending 3 A levels in year 12, I think the problem will become a lot worse.

user7214743615 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:13:19

Restricting to 3 A levels is going to be very damaging.

Relatively few sixth forms don't offer FM but there is considerable online support for self-study of FM if your local sixth form doesn't offer it. I think it's shameful that it isn't compulsory to offer FM but FM itself is not required by most maths university courses i.e. if your school doesn't offer FM you cannot be penalised for not going it. Outside the top few places only half or so of maths undergraduates will have come in with FM at A2.

hellsbells99 Mon 14-Nov-16 17:26:29

Google suggests that 2 years ago only 60% of state schools and colleges that offered A level maths also offered further maths. The aim was to increase this, but I fear that the numbers will decrease as per my previous post. This is a real shame as obviously proper teaching is far better than having to self study.

strawberrybubblegum Mon 14-Nov-16 23:55:33

That's interesting that so few schools offer further maths. That's a pretty big barrier for their students.

It's even worse coming from Scotland, where Higher then SYS is less maths than even a single maths A level.

My experience (many years ago) was that studying maths at an English RG Uni didn't require FM, but the admissions tutor phoned before making me an offer to warn that my first year would be tough, coming from Scotland.

I think that barrier would have been too high for Oxbridge (and I didn't get in). But then I think I'd have struggled with Oxbridge maths anyway. A colleague who did it said the level was aimed at the top 5-6 in the year, who would go on to do research - which wouldn't have been me.

noblegiraffe Tue 15-Nov-16 00:25:25

I think it's shameful that it isn't compulsory to offer FM

There aren't anywhere near enough maths teachers capable of teaching it. Many schools are struggling to recruit maths teachers who can even teach A-level. Further down the school about 20% of maths lessons are being taught by non-specialists.

strawberrybubblegum Tue 15-Nov-16 01:05:58

I didn't realise that, giraffe

It's a pity we can't solve these 2 problems together:
1. Lack of STEM teachers able to teach at the higher levels
2. Large numbers of women who were in STEM careers, now have young school-age children, and are unable to get part-time, family-friendly work at anything like their old level in their field (especially after a career break).

I know that the educational system is a behemoth, and change is incredibly hard and usually has unintended consequences, but it feels like with some creativity and flexibility we could get a better solution.

Perhaps a new TA type role - but aimed at high-level STEM? Ideally generally offered part time (reduce cost to the school, and lower time commitment would suit that demographic of applicants). If it's an assistant type role which doesn't require lengthy teacher training (and has support from a qualified teacher!) then that would be more attractive to people who perhaps only want to do this for 5-10 years while it suits their family rather than a full career change.

strawberrybubblegum Tue 15-Nov-16 01:08:31

And hopefully as well as plugging the STEM teaching skills shortage, it might inspire more young people to go into STEM themselves, if they hear about possible careers from people who have been doing it recently.

user7214743615 Tue 15-Nov-16 07:52:43

Perhaps a new TA type role - but aimed at high-level STEM?

I work in STEM and see many people leave STEM because of the working conditions. I can't envisage any of them taking such a low level, low paid role. Most of them transition into careers that can be combined with families and done part-time but are still paid 30+k pa pro rata.

I think it's shameful that it isn't compulsory to offer FM - There aren't anywhere near enough maths teachers capable of teaching it.

So it's OK that we are falling behind the rest of the world? It's OK that our maths tuition in schools isn't up to scratch?

I agree that schools cannot have more demands placed on them at a time of falling budgets but it is shameful that we cannot offer all kids the opportunity to do FM.

BTW the percentage of kids who cannot access one sixth form offering FM is of course much smaller than the percentage of sixth forms not offering FM. The problem is mostly in rural areas where only one sixth form is accessible to any given family.

user7214743615 Tue 15-Nov-16 07:54:42

Also the people I see leaving STEM could walk straight into a maths/physics teacher position, not just a TA position. Yet in 20 odd years of watching I can count on the fingers of one hand the number who have gone into teaching in the UK. The reality is that there are so many much better paid, family friendly options out there.

VikingVolva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:06:37

If people without QTS wanted to teach A level, then there has always been a route open to them which is to do it at an FE college rather than a sixth form (where QTS has, I think, never been mandatory). I don't think there have been large numbers of people wanting to do this.

Is the 'Teach Second' route still available for those with relevant experience or degrees?

Because I did think the routes were there, and it was disinclination to apply, rather than barriers to entry, that means the scenario mentioned by strawberry doesn't seem to be happening in practice.

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