Mathematics: Higher Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 15th September 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage students to take all forms of mathematics at Higher Education level.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Mathematics remains the most popular A level subject, with entries up 19% since 2010. There have been increases in A level entries for both maths and further maths – of 3.8% and 7.1% respectively – since 2020.

The Department for Education funds a national network of 40 Maths Hubs across England to raise the standard of mathematics education to meet the standards achieved in top-performing jurisdictions. Through a school-led model, Maths Hubs aim to harness maths leadership and expertise to develop and spread excellent practice in the teaching of mathematics for the benefit of all students.

The Department funds the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP) which aims to increase participation and attainment in level 3 mathematics through targeted support ensuring that students in all 16–19 state-funded schools and colleges can access AS/A level maths and AS/A level further mathematics and helping them to study these subjects to a higher level.

The government will nurture our country’s top mathematical talent by delivering its commitment to have a 16–19 maths school in every region. The principal aim of maths schools is to help prepare more of our most mathematically-able students to succeed in maths disciplines at top universities and to pursue mathematically-intensive careers.

This is part of a range of initiatives to improve maths provision, including the AMSP and additional funding via the Advanced Maths Premium to support providers to increase A level maths participation; it will also complement the work of Maths Hubs.

The AMSP also provides targeted support for students preparing for study in higher education.

Effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices, to learn and develop skills in the areas for which employers are looking. The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world-class careers system to achieve this ambition. We are increasing the information available to students to ensure they can make informed choices about what and where to study. The delivery of the Careers Strategy also ensures that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school careers programmes.

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